Just Junk?

Perhaps one of the most curious and funniest moments I have ever had in Zambia happened yesterday.

Jude and I are currently packing up all of our worldly possessions into boxes and storing them at our friends Carel and Hemine’s (very nice people by the way!). Lurking beneath my desk for about 2 years has been on old Epson Inkjet printer. We’ve owned it since 2007 and we have carried it from place to place. The problem is that the electronics are shot. It simply doesn’t work!

We had kept hold of it because in my true wisdom, I thought that it may be useful one day. I’m afraid I have caught the African bug of not throwing things away. Some of my packing boxes are full of old car brake pads and the like. 🙂 This is simply because sometimes it is really very difficult to get hold of something. So you hold onto something simply because one day it may be useful and you may be able to make a plan with it!

Anyway, yesterday came and I took a good long hard look at it and thought, “It’s really time to get rid!”. I called Moses who works for me and asked him to take it to our little tip that we have. He looked at me and smiled. He didn’t want to take it to the tip, he wanted to keep it.

As he held it, his eyes lit up. He was looking at it the same way I may look at the latest Apple gadget. He told me that it looked very nice and that it would look great in his house in the village. (Moses doesn’t have a hut, he in turn also employs 3 people, there is a definite hierarchy in the villages).

Now I must admit to this wrong footed me slightly. “It doesn’t work!” I protested, “Are you sure?” I asked. The thought of my old Epson printer becoming a piece of decorative furniture had never really occurred to me! I shrugged my shoulders, and told Moses of course he could take it……………

I walked out of my office some ten minutes later and saw Moses proudly showing of his new acquisition to Lasford, who also works for me. They were pressing all the buttons, lifting the scanner lid and placing it down again. They had the look of one man showing of his new car to the other. A small smile crossed my face as I walked past them, still not quite believing it. When I told Jude, she simply burst out laughing.

The thing is, maybe it isn’t so ridiculous (or maybe it is!). Some people like collecting little carved crystal figures and placing them prominently throughout he house. For others, they collect wood carvings, and for more still it is having the latest gadgets, which with ordering the latest iPhone I definitely fall in to.

Most of those objects that we collect have about the same aesthetic and functional value as an old Epson printer. We buy them, put them on the side and leave them there. Perhaps Moses wasn’t being as ridiculous as I think, at least he got it for free. We pay for most of our old junk…..


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