Night has fallen but in the hollow where we lie in wait the heat of the day still lingers. I look
over at my brother Mbelu; his face barely visible in the dark. Only his teeth shine white as he
grins at me. I try to smile back.
Mbelu has always been better at hiding his feelings. Tonight, fear and the sense of responsibility weigh me down. So many people depend on our success.
It's been ages since the last rain fell. Our fields have been reduced to dust, the herds have shrunk. The helpers come and go; international charities give us food, doctors vaccine our children and cattle. But they cannot bring us rain nor restore our dignity.
When the touts turned up with their stories of a land of plenty,my father came to a decision.
"Mbelu, Nkosi, my sons," he said. "You will go with those men to that land in the north. We have to do something or our family will die or have to move to the big city, which will be the same."
"But Father," I answered. "The men said it costs five thousand dollars per person."
"My brothers have given me money and I have taken up a loan from the merchant. You will send us a sum every month to pay for food and the loan. There might even be something left to give your brothers and sisters a good education."
So my father paid ten thousand dollars he didn't have to the strangers who promised to take us to Europe.
(To be continued)