Presidential sweet: family dine with Zambian premier

September 22, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A family holidaying in Zambia were stunned when they sat down for a posh restaurant meal and ended up dining – with the PRESIDENT.

Primary school worker Debi Brewer, 50, was on the trip-of-a-lifetime with relatives when they splashed out on a lavish meal on their final night in the southern African state.

The otherwise-empty restaurant was suddenly filled with a diplomatic entourage and the waiter told stunned Debi that president Rupiah Banda was dining there.

He sat on a nearby table with his children, grandchildren and the country’s minister for tourism.

During his meal the president beckoned Debi’s family to join them and the two parties chatted and joked over several bottles of wine.

The president and his minister were keen to discuss Zambia’s tourist industry – but Debi was still left to pay her own bill.

The parent support advisor, of Trowbridge, Wilts., said: ”The hotel manager came and apologised for all the people hanging around as the president and his family were coming to dinner.

”I cheekily asked if we might have a picture with him but was amazed when he asked us to join him.

”I mean, it’s not every day you get to have dinner with a president. It was absolutely unbelievable.

”He was very warm and welcoming and chatted to us about his country and our thoughts on it while introducing us to his family.

”It was an incredible experience and one I won’t forget in a hurry.”

Grandmother-of-three Debi flew to Africa on July 29 for a two-week trip with mum Beryl Baggs, 65 (corr), brother Michael Baggs, 47, and his wife Sonia to celebrate her 50th birthday.

She spent four days in Zambia before flying to Johannesburg and on to Nairobi, Kenya, before spending four nights in the Masai Mara and flying home on August 14.

They were staying at the Sun Hotel, which shares the grounds of the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel, when they splashed out #200 on their final meal.

It is thought the president was in the area as part of an annual event in a local village.

Debi, who works at Bellefield Primary school, even had the chance to mould Zambian government policy after she was quizzed on the tourist trade.

Also present at the meal was the Zambian minister for tourism, Catherine Namugala, who asked Debi to give her thoughts how the country can boost visiter numbers.

”She gave me her card and asked me to have a think about the country and email suggestions when I was home,” added Debi.

”It was all very surreal and I couldn’t really believe what was happening.

”She mentioned there was a lot of discussions within the government about whether they should open up Victoria falls to be more touristy with chain stores at the site.

”I told her I thought it would be a real shame if they spoilt it and she seemed to take my suggestions on board.”

Debi added: ”He was very comfortable and would have been happy to banter with us all night.

”We actually had to excuse ourselves after a while.”

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