ISU Monologue:

1276 Steps

5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Pour. I watch as my little Wesesa slops the water over the edges of the bucket.  I would scold her, but I can’t lose her help carrying the water home from the well. 
            1, 2, 3, 4.  It is very early in the morning and my daughter Wesesa and I are doing the same thing we do every morning, filling up the big basin in front of our house with water.  The buckets are heavy, but when they are on my head it makes it easier.  My friend Mangeni and I walk together in silence because when we talk, we get tired faster. 
            46, 47, 48, 49.  If we don’t get the water no one will.  Our husbands would never. They are busy on the farm, and they don’t think it is their job anyway; so it is left up to us.  Each day Wesesa and I carry about 5 buckets each.  This is a lot of water, but there is none around us for watering the farm and so off we go each day.  I don’t think anyone notices us going back and forth because it is what all of the women are expected to do. 
            198, 199, 200, 201.  After we get the water, which takes up most of the morning, there are other things we need to do, like cooking what little food from the farm we keep, and cleaning our house.  Most days I have to go to the farm down the road to earn some extra money.  My husband and I sell our crops at the market but I know that most of the money we earn, he takes to the beer halls.  I wish I could take the money, but that is not my place.
            477, 478, 479, 480.  I have two sons and my daughter Wesesa. I almost had two more children but they didn’t last long inside me because of all of my work.  One day I was walking into the village with Wesesa to grab our fourth bucket of water when all of a sudden I started bleeding and having these horrible pains in my stomach.  Luckily, there was a doctor from a volunteer group travelling through that day.  She helped me, but she could not save my baby.  She told me that all of my water carrying each day, and bending down in the fields, had made my baby not want to stay inside me any longer.  That’s what happened to the second baby too. I really wish that hadn’t happened, but more children would mean having to get more water each day, and working longer in the fields because we don’t have enough for a bigger family.
            612, 613, 614, 615.  My children mean everything to me.  They are all I have.  My husband doesn’t care for them, or me, so we have to stick together.  I try to give them the best life I can, but it is hard when there is nothing here to give.  I want them to go to school and learn all the things I wasn’t allowed to; I want them to go grow up smart so they can have a better life than I do.  I have been stuck here for what seems like forever, unable to be free.  I wouldn’t dare run away, because I wouldn’t know where to go. 
            886, 887, 888, 889.  I know that someday they will come back home, and they will be brilliant, successful adults.  My babies will know what is right in this world, and they will help make a difference in what is wrong.
            1273, 1274, 1275, 1276.  Fill.  1276 steps is what it takes for me to get from the big basin to the well.  I do this every day, back and forth about five times.  But this is all I know.  If there was a way out I would take it, but for now, I will walk back another 1276 steps and empty out this bucket for the last time today.  1, 2, 3, 4.

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