A Quest for Water, Chapter 5: Welcomed Like Princesses (6)

A QUEST FOR WATER: (Based on actual events in the southern Sahara)

Chapter 5: WELCOMED LIKE PRINCESSES (6) “Where is Fada?” Mouheini asked Housseina, hoping to thank him and wish him a good night. Longing for the familiarity of his presence, she would have preferred to spend the night at his home.

“He has gone to be with his family. You will see him in the morning,” responded the cheikh’s daughter, “Eat and rest now. Your bed has been laid out over there.” Housseina pointed to a mattress lying outside of the home, near the mattresses of other children and women who had already fallen asleep. It was much too hot to sleep indoors. Raichatou turned toward Takat, declaring, “We will sleep well tonight.” Both of them smiled.

Mouheini also wanted to smile. But she had a longing she did not understand, to talk more with someone she hardly knew. And she could not help but go over the day’s events: their near escape from the armed men, the boy in the well, and baby Tahir at home. She picked at her food while the younger girls feasted. Takat, committing senti, exclaimed, “we have been welcomed here as if we were princesses!” The other two girls giggled.