The Kindness of Strangers #MondayRecommends and #NailArt

This Monday, I need to tell you about WALKING THE BOWL: A TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND SURVIVAL AMONG THE STREET CHILDREN OF LUSAKA, by Chris Lockhart and Daniel Mulilo Chama.

Lockhart is a white NGO (non-governmental organization) worker, and Chama is an outreach worker who grew up as a “street kid”. Both work with children in Lusaka, Zambia, for whom the terms “at-risk” and “disadvantaged” don’t begin to cover it.

Lusaka was built as a luxury spot, but the luxury sector is only a small part of the city; most of it is a sprawl of dwelling places made out of scrap wood, corrugated metal, cardboard, and rags. At the bottom of the get-by pecking order are the street kids.

Lockhart and Chama had won the children’s trust and had become part of the network when a young boy’s body was found in Chunga Dump, and the police, contrary to their usual attitude toward dead street kids, got involved.

That’s where the story begins. The authors used the incident and its aftermath and outcome to take the reader through a few days of the lives of four main street kids, none of them older than eighteen, whose lives intersect in the case.

The book’s title comes from a story Chama has told all the kids: In short, a woman gives a stranger a bowl of food when he’s famished. She tells him he can repay her by “walking the bowl”, that is, doing a kindness for someone else and asking them to replay him by doing a good deed in turn.

As the book jacket says, “…what emerges is an ultimately hopeful story about human kindness and how one small good deed, passed on to others, can make a difference in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.”

My nails are sort of a nod to the Spring Equinox:

The dark base is Cascade Polish’s Dance Magic. The light stamping polish is Hit The Bottle’s His Royal Freshness, and the silver stamping polish is Maniology’s So Metal. The moon/stars comes from Maniology’s M071 (Ouija) plate, and the transition stamp comes from Maniology’s M278.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Something dark with a glimmer of light.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Kindness of Strangers #MondayRecommends and #NailArt

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      March 21, 2022 at 9:27am

      “Pleasing” isn’t the word I’d use. It’s grim beyond measure, but the grit and resourcefulness of the kids and the importance of small acts of kindness deliberately chosen make it pretty damn glorious.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    March 21, 2022 at 2:54pm

    Somebody, not one of themselves, has to care – and then it’s a long hard slog. The way these kids organize, if and when they do, is not likely to be on a Western democracy model. More likely small and tribal and Lord of the Flies. Such wasted potential.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. acflory

    March 21, 2022 at 7:50pm

    I have to confess, I can’t read books like this. It’s a form of cowardice, I know, but I just can’t. 🙁

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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