One Boy's Story
by Sharon Cooper
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I am so tired. I have to walk down this path several times a day for water. Iím not the only one who has to draw water from the hole, but today seems harder. The bucket though empty, seems heavier. I must do this for my family.
I hope it wonít be long before our little village gets the new well. I understand thatís what they call it. Never heard of one before. I heard someone talking the other day, and they said this well will provide good clean water. I hope so for my familyís sake.
You see, my mother is real sick. My father took her to town several miles away to see the local doctor. He gave my mother some medicine but she wonít get better unless we get clean water. I donít want to see mother die. And my little sister is sick also with the same illness. My best friendís little brother died from this sickness too. There have been so many people in our village who have died from this sickness.
My father tries to raise some vegetables for us to eat. But most of the time the plants die because thereís little water. Maybe there will be some news about the well when I get home.
I havenít felt well either. I hope Iím not getting sick. What will my father do if mother, brother, and I die? Who will take care of him? This bucket of water is even heavier now. And the path home is uphill. My grandmother is old. She told me one time that it was a shame that a nine year old lad had to carry heavy buckets of water for his family.
This bucket will have to be used to fix supper, and drink before going to bed tonight. Many times, I donít drink very much so as to save the water for my family. They need it more than me. Iím almost home now.
I see our neighbor. Hope he has good news. I think Iíll listen a while before taking the bucket inside. Did he really say what I thought I heard? We really are getting a new well? And theyíll begin building it tomorrow? Wow! I hope mother will be able to drink from it.
It really is true! Our neighbor said yesterday they would begin making the well today. And my father is helping the men from the village. Someone said that the strangers are telling the village how to build the well. The village is hoping itíll be done by tonight. It sure will be great to not have to carry the bucket very far. The well is being built in the middle of the village.
Thereís just a little bit left to do tomorrow. It's almost done. Mother is getting weaker. And I am so thirsty. But if I can hold out a little longer, Iíll be able to drink all the water I want tomorrow.
I have gone with a friend today to draw water from the hole. Weíre helping each other as we both need water for our families. As we get closer home, my heart jumps. The men have finished building the well. We begin to run as we notice that most of the village is standing around the well. We push our way through the crowd to watch. They're trying to pump the well. Iím holding my breath as I watch.
There it is! Water is coming out of the well. Everyone is rushing to get some water. And the water is clean. It really is clean. And oh it tastes so good. I have to take some to mother. I run in the house to get a cup. Father is leaning over mother. Whatís wrong? No! It canít be. Mother canít be dead.
Why couldnít you wait a little longer mother? We have clean water now. You donít have to be sick anymore. You canít leave now. The men are coming to take mother to bury her. Father says Iíll have to look after little sister and grandmother. The doctor says that little sister will get better now that we have clean water.
I didnít cry when mother died. I had to be strong. But now, when everyone is asleep, I cry. I miss mother so much. But I am so happy my village has clean water to drink.
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