A New AfricaSubmitted by Tanzania:


I am a small girl in a medium-sized village in Uganda, Africa. I write this story to tell what is in my spirit. Though I live in a small shack, made of sun baked, mud bricks, covered by an iron sheet, I imagine that I am a beautiful queen living in a castle like the queens in the stories my father used to tell me. The roof to my house leaks whenever it rains, but I pretend that it is an offering of fresh water from a magical god. My space is small, the house is one room, but I dance sometimes around it as if it were a grand royal ballroom like the ones in the stories from the West that my father used to tell me. We do not have a kitchen, our charcoal stove is outside.
I am home alone, much of the time. I do not go to school. Father sleeps or he is working. He works much of the time. Though I do not attend school, I pretend I can read and write like the boys, I have so many stories to tell inside of me. If only I could help my father and me have a better life. But how?

Wales, UK contribution:
I have heard Father say that chickens are too expensive. I know that other villagers have grown crops and sold the harvest for money. Perhaps I can grow potatoes or wheat for my family. Bananas are grown here but many people already sell bananas at the market. I will ask Father to teach me about growing crops so that I can spend my days in the field behind our house. I can pretend that I am planting magical seeds that will give golden stalks of wheat and potatoes made of gemstones. We would be very rich indeed if I could do that! I must make my way to the milk cart before night falls. Father enjoys his milk before bed.

Canadian contribution:

The mud bricks are beginning to wear. I will need to patch them or replace them before it gets too hot today. Father is already off to town to work. He works many hours. I sometimes imagine a better home for me and Father. It would be so tall the clouds would fill our rooms with their cool fog. No snakes or scorpions could get in if we lived in the sky! Our new house would not leak when it rained because we would us Fig Tree branches to cover our iron sheet. Our house would be big enough to cook inside and would even have a separate room for Father to sleep. We would even have our own bathroom. A house like that would be very expensive I bet. I have learned much about building houses from Father, but I am not strong enough to build my dream house alone.

US contribution:
Today I must go to the water well and get some water. The water hole where the animals drink and bath is not good for me to drink. The well is about two miles away so I have to leave with enough time to get back before dark. The well is running dry and the men in our village are preparing to dig another well soon. Finding a place to dig is a tricky thing to do! Everyone always seems to have a special way to find water. Some use sticks. Some sniff the air. I imagine being on a floating island with oceans of fresh water under us. I like to collect rain water for Father and me to drink, but the rainy season is a month away and we must drink water to survive.

Father read to me last night. He taught me some of the words and let me tell one of my stories. He said he would teach me to write them one day.