“Ok, my gazelle, it is time for you to leave now,” Alhassan said. “Otherwise you will be caught in the worst of the heat before reaching the well.”
“The well? Oh, no!” she groaned. Mouheini had almost forgotten her responsibility of the day… she sorely hoped that there would be water in the nearest well, which was around 25 kilometers away, so that she and her cousins would be home by that evening. If there was no water there, they would need to seek even further away; they might not be back until the next day… or even later. “We will be back tonight,” she promised herself.
Alhassan checked the ropes holding the empty jerry cans attached to their donkeys. Sadouan wrapped a few pieces of dried goat meat in a cloth for her daughter’s lunch, and handed it to Mouheini while whispering, “Please, darling, stay safe and return home quickly! I don’t know how long our water will last… your siblings won’t have anything to drink soon… and…”, she continued, with a stammer, “I don’t know how long Tahir will live if we run out of water.”
Mouheini knew that her mother meant well to remind her of her brothers and sisters, but it was a burden knowing that they relied on her to live from one day to the next. “Yes, Mother, I will not let you or Tahir down. By tonight, we will all have water, Allah willing!”