BLJ issue 13

Page 18

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Shoes Azibo had never owned a pair of shoes. In fact, as long as he remembered he walked barefoot all his ten years of life on this earth, his feet feeling the hard-packed red dirt paths in the village, the hot surface of the tarmac roads in the dry season, the sticky, muddy and flooded fields when the heavy rain came and the engorged river overflowed its banks. His name meant the whole earth which seemed to destine him to have his feet meeting the whole of the earth’s surface in the most intimate way. But he surely wished that fate would not be so unkind to condemn him to walk barefoot for the rest of his life. His mother and his seven-year-old sister, Mabuufo wore no shoes either. The baby, sixmonth-old Dziko, had no use for shoes, she was still strapped to her mother’s back for most of the day, it would be several months yet before she began to walk the earth or the world which was

the meaning of her name. Azibo slept on a reed mat which he shared with Mabuufo. All night long both fought hard to have a fair share of a thin worn blanket for it could be chilly here when darkness fell. Her name befitted her for she was all troubles during the night kicking him mercilessly when his body strayed to her part of the mat. The cock crowed even though the first light had yet to appear. It would be another hour before a thin sliver of sunlight graced the eastern sky. In the dim and gloomy interior of the hut, he saw Mabuufo crumple up her share of the blanket and threw it carelessly over him, and got up. He turned away from her. She had to fetch water from the water pump one kilometer from their home. He knew she resented the fact that he could sleep late and he had never once helped their mother to fetch water even if he used his fair

the meaning of her name.

share from the tank she and their mother worked so hard to fill all day long.