March 15

Dear Diary,
It has been a busy week, with so much schoolwork to do and soccer practice. There has been a lot of work here at home, too, for Merzeneb is coming to visit! I am so excited to have her back for a while.  But now I will tell you more about my adventure.

When you live in such a dry place, rain is a wonderful thing. I love the sound of it falling outside and I love sleeping while it splashes onto the ground. But that night, Diary, I understood that I love rain the best when I am clean and dry inside the house! Riding a camel for hours with rain pounding on your hat and dripping past your eyes, and soaking your blanket and clothing—this is not any fun at all! After a while, I wondered why I had ever asked to come on such a wet journey.

We didn’t stop, either. If someone had to “make water,” they fell behind and did it beside the trail, then ran to catch up. No one bothered to go into the trees, because who knew what could be hiding in the darkness? Lions are rare, but there are leopards and wild pigs to think about. I did not get down from Kassa, although my bones ached from riding her so long. Father’s paraffin lamp only made a small circle of light, which helped us follow his footsteps but didn't really light the trail ahead.

Sometimes we passed by villages, distant and dark in the night. Twice we crossed over larger roads, but always we walked back into the woods and onto the winding trails that would lead us more quickly to the supply truck.

I must have fallen asleep for a while, Diary, because when I opened my eyes, I could see a little ways in front of us. The rain had turned into drizzle and no longer dripped from our hats. My hair felt as if it wanted badly to be free, like letting a rabbit out of a bag! So I took my hat off and let it curl and puff up like a huge bush in the breeze. The trail became more open and muddy, winding around huge rocks. Monkeys and birds started making their morning noises. I saw a flock of little green and grey parrots fly overhead, screeching.

There was no sun, but the sky was a lighter stone color as we walked on. Dawit and Berhanu looked tired, leading the heavy oxen with their slow legs. Father snuffed out his lamp.

“Not long now,” he said quietly, waving the boys to stop. He made Kassa kneel and pulled me to the ground. I could hardly stand, I was so stiff! The other men joined us, talking in low voices, pointing and discussing the best way to get to the truck.

We pulled food from our packs—injera wrapped around chopped tomatoes, beans, and spices—and ate it cold. I drank a little water from a bottle, though I could have as easily twisted my shirt to get a drink, Diary!

Mother is calling me to help with the evening meal. I will write more when I get a chance.

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