Chapter Sixteen

It was still dark when he heard people gathering outside. Babo was there coordinating.

“Janko, you search the East Bank for herbs. Be wary of vipers, I noticed a few eggs last time I was there, the mothers will be aggressive,” Babo said softly.

Babo noticed Joma peering out of a hut, “Ahh, our new friend,” he said waving him over.

“You’re welcome to sleep boy, it is still early. I’m organising the villagers for the day’s gathering expedition if you’d like to join,” Babo enquired.

He was tired, hungry and intimidated by the eyes of the strangers around him. “I’d love to come,” he forced himself to say as he stepped out of his comfort zone.

Joma joined Babo’s group. Their role was to search the central zone for vegetables. Joma asked why they didn’t farm the land to provide for the community. Babo explained that the village had lived this way since the beginning. With the population remaining constant, there was no need for farming. The benefit of gathering ensured variety in the villager’s diets and a healthy, balanced ecosystem.

It was Babo’s turn to question, “Now that you’re rested, do you remember where you were going before you crashed upon our shores?”

Joma explained himself. He was surprised with how easily everything flowed out.

Babo chuckled, “Everyone is searching for something,”

“The challenge of life lies in its simplicity. It’s a paradox really,”

“You see, deep down we’re all trying to create a better world – whether it be simply for yourself, your family or the wider community,” Babo explained.

“We all have unique attributes to achieve this,”

“It’s not always going to be fun and rewarding, in fact, a lot of the time it’s hard and mundane. But it’s contrast that allows us moments of joy,” the big man said sagely.

By now, the baskets were nearly full with wild greens and root vegetables. The walk back gave Joma a chance to reflect – it all made sense but had taken a stranger to make him see this.

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