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A Seasonal




Rooster sirens pierced the dawn silence. The sky was cloudless blue.

Thrilled, I sprinted to ma screaming, ‘School today!’. The dry season

was continuing, the arid land gave us permission to go to school. Our

school closes on rainy days, as it is new. ‘Dear, please get some water

on the way back, here’s a bucket,’ requested ma. I put on a smoothed

white shirt and trousers and took off outside. I would find breakfast

on the way.

I trudged along the red dirt that was sailing with the wind. The

journey was to be a long one, but at least I’d go to school. I saw the

large green tree acting almost like an umbrella, shading the dirt

below. The leaves were rich and healthy despite the rainless spell.

The roots of the tree must go deep down below retrieving a sip of

water when needed. I rushed towards the tree seeing fresh figs

scattered around below. This was my snack before school; two figs

kept me going till lunch. We don’t go to school when it rains because

the track gets slippery and dangerous. As I continued towards school,

I could not help but think of the last time it had rained. I crossed a

stream that was dry from the extended drought. This was where I

usually got my water but today I would have to go further past the

school. Everything around here seemed to be parched. Dry and

shrivelled up into tiny little balls. Usually the trip to school was safe

but wild animals are always on the prowl. The boundaries of the

school, the four trees, stood proudly. The trees were old yet encased

in the trunks held the spirits of our people.

I saw my friends; they were chasing each other and I decided to

join in. Rudo seemed to be forcing a smile so I asked, ‘Hey, you ok?’.

‘No my brother is sick, real sick,’ Rudo answered. He seemed worried,

but why wouldn’t he be. That is how most people die isn’t it? Being

sick. I reassured him that I would pray for his brother’s health.

‘C’mon’ I said, ‘let’s sing.’ Singing always brought up the mood a few

notches and helped us feel enthusiastic about learning. A teacher

picked up a small copper bell and shook it, hinting that our play was

over. We raced to class and sat on the floor.

The class was buzzing with energy and life. We all scrambled like

chickens in a pen to find a place on the white cloth. The teacher

strolled around all of us, catching the eyes of every student. With a

large smile she beamed, ‘Class, today we will learn times tables.’ She

wrote the words on the board and started her lesson. Nobody in this

class had ever heard of times tables before, and we all stared up with