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Water from the Rock

Water from the Rock

A young boy and girl in Namibia find a hidden source of fresh water near their village
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Water from the Rock

Author: Dorian Haarhoff
Editor: Build a Book Collective
Publisher: New Namibia Books
Windhoek, 1992
Soft-cover, 15x21 cm, 24 pages, several bw-illustrations


From the text:

It was a hot day a few months after the rain. Kwellie sat near her friend, Moses. She dangled her feet in the water of a donga. It was mosquito time and mosquitos were breeding in the dirty water left over from the last rain. Moses swatted his leg. He was hot and bored. Kwellie called to him 'Moses, come and put your feet in the water. It's cool.' Moses grumbled, 'It's so hot and I want a drink.'

The people in the village lived far away from the nearest water supply, so a man came to sell them water from a large round drum at the back of his truck.The water truck only came once a week. It was coming that afternoon so there was not much water left. 'I can't wait any longer,' said Moses crossly. Moses did not see a thin line of washing foam drifting towards his cupped hand. A woman was washing clothes on the other side. Moses took a sip and held the water in his mouth.

Kwellie shouted at him. 'Hey, Moses, what do you think you're doing? Spit out. Don't drink the water.' Moses spat. 'You know Tobo's got the water sickness from drinking this water'. Tobo was Kwellie's brother. Yesterday he had drunk from this same donga. Now he had pains in his stomach. Just at that moment, a whirlwind blew dust across the water. Moses sighed. He saw the shape of Blikkie, the youngest goat, reflected in the murky water. He got up. He would just have to wait until the truck called Wunsa-Week came. His aunt had made up that name. Aunt Eva.

Aunt Eva also said 'Why must we pay someone for water? Water should be free like air.' Moses sighed again, 'I must take the goats into the veld now. Bye Kwellie.' 'And I must fetch water from Wunsa-Week. See you later Moses.' The friends went on their different paths. Later, when the sun cast no shadow, Moses sat near a clump of rocks. The people called this place Khomas because of the rocks. His mind was far from his goats.

'I wish Tobo were better,' he thought. 'I want to play "klippies" with him.' Moses and Tobo had made up their own game with stones and sticks. Moses wished that he had magic so he could make it rain. He squinted up at the dry blue sky. Then he scratched at a rock with a stick. He thought of Moses, his favourite person in the Bible. 'My Moses, you are just like that Old Testament man,' his old Aunt Eva often said. She had told him stories of the stick that turned into a snake and the burning bush. But his favourite was the one in which Moses struck the rock and it flowed with a pure stream of water. Now he really felt thirsty.

All of a sudden he heard a strange noise. He stood up. What could it be? 'Baa baa baa.' It sounded like a goat underneath the rocks. He counted. One goat was missing. It was Blikkie. He was always wandering off on his own. Was he caught under a rock? Moses scrambled over the rocks and got down on his knees. 'Baa baa baa.' Moses searched and searched. Sometimes the bleating was further away, sometimes it was nearer. 'Baa baa baa.' The bleating seemed closer now. He pulled away an old dried bush. [...]