Callum and the other children found more fulgurites and took them to
Masibuwa’s hut. “There are a lot of people here. Do they all live in the hut
with you?” Callum looked at the crowd.
“This is my family. My mother and father, grandmother and grandfather,
aunties and uncles and cousins all live here. We share things together,”
“Where do you all sleep? Is there room for all of you?”
“It is crowded, but we seem to manage.” The boy grinned.
“Welcome to our home,” Masibuwa’s mother said, taking Callum’s hand and
pulling him inside. “My name is Wanda. I am Masibuwa’s mother. This is my
husband, Kimoni. These are his parents.” Wanda introduced the entire family.
Callum knew he’d never remember all of their names. Wanda invited Callum to
stay for supper.
“Can I bring my friends, Fiona and Elspet?” Callum hesitated to ask.
“Of course. Any friend of Masibuwa is welcome in our home,” Wanda said.
Callum ran to the hut and picked up Fiona and Elspet, who lay on their cots
patiently waiting for his return. He escorted them back to Masibuwa’s hut.
That night they feasted on zitumbuwa, nthochi, nsima and mbatata. Some of
the aunties and uncles danced. Kimoni played the drums, his father played
the mambilira and the dancers tied shakes and rattles, maseche, to their
legs and performed.
“That’s cool how your dad plays the xylophone,” Callum said.
Fiona, Callum and Elspet sat hypnotized by the way the dancers swayed and
Fiona walked over to Wanda. “Can I speak with you for a moment?” She took
the woman’s hand and pulled her to the side. “I happen to know that there
are some sapphires and rubies in a cave down the beach. There is also some
tourmaline and other precious stones nearby.”
“What? You say there are jewels here?” Wanda’s eyes bulged with excitement.
“Yes. If you come with me for a few minutes, I’ll show you where. The only
thing I ask is that when you get them, you share with all the villagers
here. They need food and medicine and maybe a hospital or school. Do you
promise?” Fiona looked into the woman’s tear-filled eyes.
“You know I do, Fiona. Let me tell the others I’ll be gone for a few
minutes.” Wanda whispered to her husband and then ran back out to join
Fiona. She took the woman to the places the gems were hidden and told her
exactly how to find them. When she was sure Wanda remembered, they went back
to camp. Fiona winked at Wanda, who winked back.
After an entertaining evening, the tired group headed back to their own hut
* * *
Fiona rolled over on her cot. She sniffed the air and smelled smoke. They
start early around here. With a yawn she stood and walked out of the hut.
“Whoa! It’s a boat in the lake. Cool.” She went back inside. “Elspet! Callum!
Get up. You’ve got to see this.”
“What is it, Fiona?” Callum yawned and covered his head with his pillow. “I
don’t want to get up yet.”
“All right. You’ll miss it then,” Fiona said and left.
Elspet dressed and joined Fiona outside. “Wow! It’s a boat. Callum!” She
shouted. “You’ve got to see this.”
He dragged himself out of bed and looked over at the lake. “It is a boat.
That must be the Malawi Steamer. Masibuwa told me about it. It comes from
the southern part of the lake to at Nkhata Bay and then it goes back.”
“You mean it doesn’t go up to Livingstonia?” Elspet frowned.
“Nope. We’ll have to find out way there on our own. The important question
is, when do we eat?” Callum rubbed his belly
“Wanda invited us over for breakfast. I spoke to her last night and she said
that she knows a man who is heading up to Livingstonia and can give us a
ride. He’s Scottish.” Fiona walked toward the steamer. “Come on. Let’s check
out the boat and then we’ll go and eat.”
“It’s not as cool as the ship we were on in Tierra del Fuego, is it?” Callum
glanced up and down the length. “It sort of reminds me of that boat in the
movie The Mummy, when they sailed up the Nile River and the bad guys
come on board and then it explodes.”
“You’re right. It does, Callum. It also doesn’t look very safe. I wonder if
it has ever sunk.” Elspet went back into her tent and got the camera. She
snapped a few photos. “That was a dumb question. If it had sunk, then it
wouldn’t be there. Duh!”
“You’re nutty, Elspet. Come on. Wanda will be waiting for us,” Fiona said.
Their breakfast was similar to their supper the night before. When they’d
finished eating a man pulled up in a car. “Hello everyone.” He opened the
car door and got out. He stood next to his car and waved at Wanda. “You got
enough to feed me some breakfast this morning, Wanda? I’ve brought you a bag
of sugar.” He grinned and took it into the hut.
Fiona, Callum and Elspet gathered around him. “Hello, Mr. What is your name,
sir?” Elspet sat next to the man.
“Hello, young lady. I see you’ve got a Scottish accent. That’s most welcome
to hear. You recognize mine too, don’t you?”
Fiona answered. “You sound like you’re from Edinburgh.”
“I am. Very good guess there. I’m from Leith. I understand you three are
looking for a ride to Livingstonia. Is that correct?” He glanced at Callum.
“Oh, forgive me. My name is Moses Hall.”
“I’m Callum. This is Fiona and Elspet. We live in Inveralba.”
“Up in the highlands. Nice area up there. I’ve fished in Loch Doon. Let me
finish eating and then we’ll talk.”
Fiona, Elspet and Callum went back to their hut and gathered their things in
the pack. When they arrived at Masibuwa’s hut, Moses was ready. They all
said goodbye to their new friends and climbed into Moses’ car.