Poverty has a home in Ga-Molepo, like a quiet second skin. My community, they look down because there is no food and no jobs. They look straight and deeply as a punishment from the god because they are struggling in life.
That is all that matters, sometimes they think there is end to Molepo sky. One might say that in its vastness there is a certain kind of watchfulness that strips man down to his simplest form. If that’s not so, then there must be some other, unfathomable reason for the immense humanity and the extreme gentleness of my community.
Poverty here has a majority backing it. Our lives is currently are completely adapted to it. Each day we eat a porridge of millet in the morning; a thicker millet porridge with a piece of boiled meat at midday; and, in the evening we repeat our breakfast meal.
We use donkeys to plant in the fields. Sometimes we use our hands to plant and to transport almost everything, such as water from Mphogodiba river, or transport maize and bags of corn and fire wood.
All of this is our adaptation to difficult conditions in a permanently drought-stricken village that is full of calamity. People die most easily of starvation and malnutrition. The pattern of adaptation means that young people crowd in about their mothers, and sit – they actually sit in heavy silence, absorbing the pain.
It is only a dim, dull ache folded into the stream of life.
On a serious note; it is not right. There is a terrible mindlessness about it. We live and survive by making as few demands as possible. Yet, this is a deceptive peace, we are more easily confused and torn apart than those who have the capacity to take in their stride the width and the reach of new horizons.
Do we really need to develop so slowly, admitting change only in so far as it keeps pace with our limitations. Or does change only descend upon us as a calamity? I merely just ask this because, anonymous as we are, in our favour is a great credit balance of love and warmth that the gods somewhere should count up and reward us for.
Seriously it may be that they – the gods – overlook our desert and semi-desert places. I should like to remind these gods that there are people here who need taking care of too.
When I turn my head, I remember. When I lie asleep under the thorn tree, and the desert is on this side of me and on that side of me, I remember – I have no work to do. We are all waiting for the rain. We cannot plough without the rain. I think the rain has gone away again, like last year. We had a little rain in November, December has gone, and now it is May 2018 and each day we have been sitting here, waiting for the rain. My mother, my father, my grandmother, and my first brother Moses, and my second brother Jackson – we are all waiting.
If it were to rain my grandmother would push the plough and my first brother Moses would pull the oxen across the great miles of our community. The women would follow behind, sowing maize, millet, pumpkin and watermelon seed. I feel great pity for my family, and other families. I wonder why we sit here like this.
Each day the sun is hot, hot in the blue sky like the fire. Each day the water pool at Rampheri dam, gets smaller. We need to think about leaving this village but we do not know where we could go.