It's getting cooler. The moon is standing high. Mr Rahmani says, as soon as it vanishes behind the horizon, we'll tackle the last bit of the way. It's an almost full moon. In its light, we can make out the walls and even part of the fences that separate us from our goal. Five hundred metres, not more.
Down the last dunes, then over flat, sandy ground, climb the fence, the wall, and we'll have reached that European out-post in the Sahara: Melia.
Mbelu and I have made plans. We'll work hard and earn good money. We don't need
much, only a cheap room and a little food. We'll scrape together every cent we don't use and send it home.
"It won't be easy," I've told him. "There are many stories about menwho left their villages and came home defeated."
"We're different," he's said. "We're strong. As long as we're together, nothing is impossible."
He's right. I remember all the mischief we planned when we were children, our adventures when we became men. Take the bananas we pinched from the merchant. Me distracting him and Mbelu running away with a whole bunch. Father was furious. He made us take them back and apologize.
We had to help in the store each day after school for a month to make up for it. Not a bad time because we were together, and the rich merchant's a good man. Sometimes he gave us left over vegetables or tins just over the sell-by date to share with our family.
We grew up and our duties changed.
(To be continued)