Africa: Captain Nelson's Freedom Ferry

A hot, leonine wind prowled through the saw grass, rattling the few gaunt thornbushes that dot the banks of the Zambezi River near Kasane. Potbellied kids squatted in the shade of round, white-walled mud huts while their mothers hacked with mattocks in the maize patches. Down at the riverbank, "Captain" Nelson Maibolwa puttered with twin 18-h.p. outboard motors slung on a ramshackle wood-and-iron pontoon. Behind him flowed the sun-dappled, grey-green Zambezi, where crocodiles, hippos and shoals of saber-toothed tiger-fish eternally wait their prey. There came the sound of a laboring truck engine, and brawny, coal-black Captain Nelson peered down the...

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