A QUEST FOR WATER: (Based on actual events in the southern Sahara)
Chapter 6: A FOUNTAIN OF LIQUID SILVER (4)
“How can we ever repay you?” asked Mouheini. “You need not repay me,” he replied. “Water is a gift from God. This borehole was a gift from God. Come here whenever you need water. Be safe and careful, and always remember to thank Allah! Now, follow me.”
Mouheini did not want to leave Fada, so she waved for him to follow. He did, but kept at a distance. He too was confused about his feelings; why was he so sad knowing that the girls would be leaving soon?
Cheikh Almoustapha guided the three cousins to Housseina, who gently handed a parcel of food to Mouheini, “Be safe, my friends,” she said, “I pray that you arrive before dark, so that you can be with your families for the festivities tomorrow!”
“Before you leave, take these,” the cheikh handed over three sheep, one for each girl. “It is my gift to you for the Tabaski. Many villages were attacked last night. The genies of protection must have followed you into our village. May Allah protect you as you protected us.”
“Leave in peace,” he added. “I have decided to send Fada to accompany you home. Fada knows how to get just about anywhere in all of the Azawak, so I know you will be in good hands. Wasselkou is explaining the shortest route to him as we speak.”
Mouheini’s heart skipped a beat upon hearing this news. She glanced back to Fada and Wasselkou, and smiled.
“What is going on with Mouheini?” Raichatou asked Takat. “I’m going to tell Aunt Sadouan how they look at each other, and she won’t be happy.” Takat snapped, “Just keep quiet, you have no idea what’s going on. Leave Mouheini alone, she’ll be fine without your help!”
photo: Mariama portraying a pensive Mouheini.