Part 6: A phoenix from the ashes (1963 – 1980)
Ala was born to be a strong woman and amidst the scandal that surrounded her, she rose to the challenge. Lolly’s indiscretion meant that she had to return to work only 3 months after Chris was born.
She gave Lolly an ultimatum. With the amount of hard work, they put into their business and relationship, it would have been a waste not to give love another chance. So, they decided to ask Yvonne to leave. Ala went back to the office and they concentrated on building up the business again. It became apparent that during her pregnancies, the business took a bit of a hit. The boys grew up in unspoiled Africa with all the adventures their little hearts could desire – travelling, swimming, skiing and fishing.
The Launch business was picking up and, in an attempt, to accommodate extra guests, one of the launches that wasn’t used too often had to be readied. Ala and the boys went down to the river to help. The boys were called aside to look at a small crocodile and during that time, a friend started the launch. A spark flew and the launch caught alight due to the stagnant petrol fumes. Unfortunately, Ala caught the worst of it. Luckily the boys were clear of the explosion. Her legs were badly burned and she ended spending 10 days in hospital. Eventually she healed up and walked away from it stronger than ever.
They decided to branch out their business and do safari trips to Wankie Game reserve. After many years of catering, it came naturally to Ala to provide food to guests and they decided that they wanted to start a restaurant. Later on, they even petitioned to start booze cruises which were a big hit. Eventually a friend wanted to join their business and suggested that they structure packages for tourists that included flights, accommodation and excursions. “Flame Lilly Holidays” was born. This became a soaring success and they started doing tours to Kenya, Tanganyika, Mozambique and South Africa. The business reached new heights. They had a sporting goods store, 30 vehicles, 3 launches and a Motel.
After 18 years of separation it was wonderful for Ala & Janusz to have their father back. And he loved and spoiled the grandchildren. Ala gave him English lessons in the afternoon to help him communicate better. He started complaining about heartburn and Ala decided it would be best to get him to the best medical centre. Tatus (dad) passed away. It was a terribly sad time. Especially because they only had 4 years together after his return.
More than ever Ala & her family contemplated the importance of spending quality time together. Family is the most important thing.
When we are young, it is so easy for us to strive to reach the top but later on in one’s life you truly understand the sacrifices parents make for their children. Ala felt that she could have done more for her parents in her life. Only after Tatus’ passing she realised that she wouldn’t be where she was, was it not for them.
It was time to leave Livingstone and to live life with no regrets.
To be continued…