From a Nepalese chicken to a Zambian dawn

A pair of lions looking out over the Luangwa River.

A pair of lions looking out over the Luangwa.

This U.S. Memorial Day I thought I’d offer up one of my recollections of a soldier I knew during my time with the British Army:

He commissioned into the Gurkhas and went in Nepal to join his battalion. He was told that it was traditional for newly arrived young officers to present the senior Gurkha non-commissioned officer with a chicken as a token of respect.

Straight away he went about finding and purchasing a chicken before making his way to the infantry company office to report for his first day of duty.

He marched in, holding the clucking chicken under his left arm while saluting with the other.

The intended recipient of the chicken looked up from his desk.

“Why are you holding a chicken, Saab?”

At that point it dawned on him that he might be the victim of a prank and have been ill advised. He did not present the chicken but saluted, turned about and left the office with it still clucking under his arm.

Henceforth he was known as Chicken Saab. After he left the army, he returned to his native Zambia where he started  Zambian Dawn Safaris, which operates in the North Luangwa National Park.

I hope to visit Chicken Saab one day and see both him and a Zambian dawn.

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