Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tandem story #2

This is another tandem story that we wrote yesterday. The previous story had a great ending, thanks to Alexandra. Like the previous story, this one also included dialogue, which makes any story more interesting. Although this isn't publishable material, the children carried on the story line better than I'd expected.

Story #2

The frightening thunderstorm finally stopped, and the sun peeked out from behind the receding clouds.

Amanita stepped out from under the banana leaf where she’d been hiding during the storm. At this time of year, rains were common in Ghana. She was so tired of the mud, the humidity, the heat. Ever since her mother had died of AIDS, 13-year-old Amanita was the head of household, cooking, tending the goat, sweeping, wiping away tears of her three younger siblings who still didn’t understand that mother was gone, never to come back. But there was no one to wipe away Amanita’s tears as she cried herself to sleep, being careful that her three younger brothers did not see or hear her.

Amanita was so thankful that she had that one goat, a Nubian that she had received as a gift from a Christian man who had come to her village a few months before. The dark goat, whom she named Bella, provided enough milk for all of them, enough to ward away the hunger pains that she had learned to live with most of her life. And now Bella was pregnant. Amanita could not wait for the little kid to be born.

Where was Bella hiding? Amanita wondered as she searched her muddy compound by the thatch hut. She saw movement under a bush.

Unsure, Amanita started towards the bush. It rustled again, but now Amanita could hear a dog barking. Village dogs didn’t bark at goats. What could be hiding here?

All of a sudden someone jumped out from behind the bush. Amanita screamed and turned to run. Then she heard laughing as the village troublemaker fell to the ground cracking up. Amanita turned away in disgust. She had plenty of work to do today and she had to find the goat so her younger brothers could have milk for breakfast.

She headed out to look behind other houses, thinking maybe the goat had wandered into someone else’s yard. Indeed, that’s where she found it, chomping away at a neighbor’s garden. She quickly took her away, making sure nobody saw. The neighbor never said anything anyway so she thought she was fine.

She sat down to milk the goat. She used a plastic bucket the same one she used to get water from the well. When they had drunk most of the milk, she then put it in a plastic water bottle she had found. That way she could get water from the well for the goat. Her village was lucky because they had a well; most villages didn’t. In the day she and her brothers went to the forest. They had to gather firewood for cooking. While they were away, Amanita’s youngest brother stayed home in the hut to make sure Bella didn’t get tangled in the picket line and to be there when Bella started kidding.

Amanita heard a yell. She looked up and saw her youngest brother running towards.

“Amanita, come quick, Belle is kidding, but there is something wrong with her!” he panted.

Dropping her sticks, Amanita hurried after her brother. When she arrived, she found Bella still on her picket straining in labor, her eyes rolling from the pain. The birth sac had emerged and burst but nothing was happening. Amanita knew what to do. She had been with several women when they had given birth.

After half an hour, everything was over. Surprisingly, the kid was light brown unlike her mother. After being licked clean and dry by Bella, the kid got up on wobbly legs and started suckling. Amanita was delighted and thanked God for the tiny female goat, which in time would provide more milk for them, maybe even enough to sell.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)