The next day was uneventful—besides encouraging several crocs to return to the river, the entourage slept and lazed around the camp chatting and joking and enjoying the cool breeze whifting off of the river.
When Mo awoke and joined the others, Kouri asked, “How are you doing today?”
“Outside of feeling like a lion took a bite out of my posterior, much better.”
Saa unwrapped Mo’s wound and cleaned it. She motioned for Kouri to join her. She showed her the herbs she used, how to apply them, and how to hold them in place with leaves and bindings.
Kisai who had been quiet up until now spouted out in Swahili, “Something is moving towards us through the forest.” Everyone got to their feet to see Katie’s zebra approaching the camp. They broke out in laughter and greeted it with hugs and petting. Mo gave it salt from the salt lick and others built a pile of edible leaves and grass which the animal ate voraciously.
Henna said, “He needs a name. Let’s call him “Shadow”.” Everyone agreed.
When they were finished dressing Mo’s wound, Kouri returned to reading Jane Eyre. After a while she said, “Jane is helping Mr. Rochester recover from the fall he took when his horse lost its footing on the ice near his estate. Jane doesn’t know that Mr. Rochester is her employee and Mr. Rochester doesn’t know that Jane is the governess hired by Mrs. Fairfax, his housekeeper, to tutor his adopted daughter.”
Theresa said, “He was an arrogant bastard, wasn’t he? He changing moods at the drop of a hat and expected everyone to conform to his wants and needs. He’d pay attention to Jane for an hour or two and then ride off without telling her and not see her for weeks at a time.”
Katie said, “Aren’t all men like that—raised to think they’re special and that the world belongs to them?”
Henna said, “Well, Jane fell for him, didn’t she?” He was big and strong, although a bit homely, like Jane, herself.”
Kouri said, “It was the first man she’d met who treated her with any kind of attention and respect. That’s how Calix is.”
Henna said, “Who’s Calix?”
“He’s the guy I worked for while herding sheep, before I came to the Bootcamp. I had my purse stolen in Sophia, Bulgaria and scrambled to find work and a place to stay until I could get my banking straightened out. I met his sister at Joy Day Health Food Store. While I was waiting to get hired to work in her company, she told me that Calix needed someone to cover for him as a shepherd near Orhid, Macedonia. So I went off to meet him and his family and tend his sheep and goats.”
“How was it?”
“Just amazing. Calix, his mother, and brothers and sisters treated me like family. I wandered the snow topped mountains for a month watching over fifty sheep and twenty goats, chasing off predators and keeping the animals from stumbling off cliffs.”
“And what happened with Calix?”
“He traveled to Greece to visit his uncle. He plans on studying Archaeology at a university in Athens. He was going to asked him to borrow money for his education.”
“Katie said, “And what does this pied piper look like.”
He’s a little taller than I am, with light brown, curly hair, a narrow waist, and strong tanned legs. He’s kind and gentle and considerate and so is his family.”
“Sounds sexy. Did he fall for you?”
“No, it’ll be a long time before he’s ready for marriage. We didn’t even get involved—but he did say he liked me and wanted to see me again. And I guess I was more attracted to him than I realized.”
Henna changed the subject, “Theresa, What do you find attractive in a man?”
I like someone like Sven who’s intelligent with a sense of humor and who knows what he’s about. He’s got to be attractive, but looks aren’t the most important component to me.”
“Do you have someone special in Spain?”
“Are you kidding, with my schedule? I’m working twelve hours a day and am exhausted when I get home. I zone out with a beer in front of the tube and that’s it for the day. I broke up with a guy a few years ago. I thought we were going to get married, but he never asked me. Sven, the guy I met in Nairobi is the only man in my life right now and I’ve only known him for a few weeks.”
“Do you think you would settle down if you found the right one?”
“Sure, that would be easy; I’d have to change jobs, of course—probably start a business I could run from home while raising a family. That is, unless I married someone rich, so I wouldn’t need to work.”
Katie and Henna both said, “Now that’s the life,” and laughed because they were thinking alike.
Theresa said, “On second thought, being married to a wealthy man puts you right back into that helpless, dependent female role. You’re stuck asking your “sugar daddy” to take care of all of your needs and you lose your motivation to develop a career and sustain your semi-independent.”
Katie said, “Mo, tell us about your husband.”
***“Simon and I met at Boston University while I was studying geology and he was working on his international law degree. He’s African American, big and athletic, and played football in college. His father was a lawyer and a judge and his grandfather a lawyer before him. He’s kind and gentle with me; however, he can be fierce in the courtroom or when dealing with adversaries.”
“Are you happy?”
“I’m beyond happy . . . I’m ecstatic and madly in love. We often travel together, but decided against it this time.”
Kouri said, “I’m so glad for you. You’re the only one among us who is blissfully married. You’re a role model for all of us.”
“Thank you. So what are we going to do today, troupers—sit around talking about “prince charming”, or find a way off of this pile of rocks?”
Henna said, “We’ve still got some lion meat left. We could gather roots and plants to supplement our meal.”
Theresa said, “Our supply of meat won’t last more than a few days. Then we’ll need to snare something else.”
Katie said, “There’s one thing in abundance out here.”
Stacy said, “Yea, crocs.”
“With a few spears we could get one.”
Mo said, “Or maybe with a noose with a slip knot; however, don’t count on it. They’re fierce and you’ve got to spear them in just the right spot, or the weapon will bounce off their thick hides.”
Kouri said, “How about making jerky out of the remaining lion meat; that way it won’t go bad. It’s easy to prepare; you just soak the meat in a sauce, such as peppers, salt, and herbs, and then let it bake in the hot sun.”
Mo said, “Excellent idea.”
Mo spoke to Saa, “Mother, do you have herbs to cure and preserve our meat?”
“Please give some to Kouri for making jerky.”
Theresa said, “So Amazonians, what are we going to do now, return to the shore we left, or find a way to cross the river?”
Mo said, “We’ll need to traverse it at some point, no matter what we do now. Henna, what do you think; Is this a good place to swim for the far shore?”
She walked over to the water’s edge and the others followed. The island was only about one-third of the way across the watercourse and the current was fast and rough. Henna said, “No, several of us barely made the swim to the island. I’d even be afraid to chance it. What we need is a huge raft, then we could float down stream and gently guide it towards the far bank.”
Katie said, “Now that’s a great idea. And we wouldn’t risk being consumed by crocs.”
Mo said, “How could we build something that big?”
Katie confided, “When I was in the army, we often constructed forts and battlements to do mock battle with other platoons. Let me work on a plan.”
Kouri said, “This island is heavily wooded. We could take branches and brush and tie them together with vines for floatation. We could even make platforms to sit on and a shade to protect us from the sun.”
Mo said, “Let’s do it.” “Mother, how many days walk once we cross the river?”
She held up three fingers. “Two downstream and one day inland.”
Katie scoured the island for resources, examining the types of wood and the sizes of branches. She searched for vines that would be strong enough to hold bundles of branches together. She then imagined the dimensions of a raft that would hold seven women, a boy, and a zebra.
While Mo was feeding Sephie, Kouri and Stacy helped Saa make a sauce and cut the lion meat into strips. Henna and Theresa gathered branches and brush. Hope, the bush baby, snuck scraps of meat when the women weren’t looking.
Henna came running back to camp, “I found something . . . it’s a boat!”
Mo said in disbelief said, “A boat?”
“Yes, I was walking around the north tip of the island and when I rounded the point, I saw it. It’s like an old riverboat you’d see in the movies.”
Kouri said, “Let’s check it out.”
The troop wove their way through the jungle and came to an old water craft that had probably crashed into the island during a spring flood. Two crocodiles were laying on the left gunwale sunning themselves. Mo said, “It looks like the hull is gone. Perhaps we could salvage some of the wood.”
The craft was approximately ten meters long and at one time had been painted a sky blue. You could still read its name, ironic though it was, “Good Fortune”. Now, most of the paint was covered with green slime and vegetation.
Kouri said, “Let’s check it out—maybe we’ll find some tools . . . or even a lost treasure.”
Stacy said, “Or maybe some dead bodies. We haven’t seen any evidence of survivors from the craft.”
Mo said, “I sure don’t want to tangle with those crocodiles. Stacy was already creeping out on a branch to the boat with a spear in her hand. Mo said, “Stacy, Those crocs are going to eat you. Come on back.”
Just then, she threw her hands into the air, let out a shrill scream, and ran towards the predators. Both animals dove into the water. Kisai and Katie jumped into the air from surprise. Kouri said, “Nice going, Stacy. Be careful, there might be more of them below deck.”
Mo and Kouri joined her. Saa waited on shore, holding Stephie while Hope sat on her shoulder. Mo spun the old steering wheel that sat in the center of the forward deck as she walked past it. Kouri peeked down the short staircase and then hit the sides of the boat and shouted several times to scare out any unwanted creatures. Then feeling daring, she slowly descend below deck with Mo and Stacy behind her. A dark, short hallway, with three doors, led toward the stern of the vessel. Kouri stood poised to open the portal on the left, “Shall we?”
“Go ahead.” She turned the handle and pushed but nothing happened. Then with the help of the other two women, it slowly opened. It was the crew’s cabin. Bunks lined the walls, and a plain round table sat in the middle of the room with trash, bottles, cans, and two chairs laying on the floor. Mo found a drawer in a built in cabinet and opened it. She pulled out two machetes and handed one to Stacy and one to Kouri. Then she took out a hand ax and put it in her backpack.
They moved to the next room across the hall. It was the captain’s cabin. It had a fine carved bed and round dining room table, four turned over chairs, and a cabinet with glass and wire doors. Bottles of wine and brandy and cut crystal glasses lined the shelves. Stacy said, “Troopers, it’s party time tonight.” Mo opened the doors and handed out the spoils.
They pulled away masses of vegetation and found a set of drawers below a waist-high counter. The top one was filled with silverware and steak knives. Kouri said, “We’re going to eat in style tonight.”
“These knives will make excellent spears.”
The second drawer held a ship’s compass and log. Mo put them in Kouri’s backpack. She pulled out an assortment of hand tools from the third compartment: hammers, saws, screw drivers, pliers, and wrenches. Mo put these in Stacy’s bag.
A loud cry in Masai of “Help . . . help” coursed the air.
“Saa’s in trouble.” The troopers dashed out of the hold and leaped onto shore with weapons ready. Crocodiles we’re closing in on Saa, carrying Hope and Sephie as she backup up against a tree near the river. Mo approached the first croc from the side and came down hard on its back with the ax. It stopped cold in its tracks. Kouri and Stacy went after the second animal, methodically chopping into it until it was dead.
Mo said, “Let’s get out of here. We’ll come back for the crocodile meat once Saa and Stephie are safe.”
* * *
That night the women sat around the fire eating dinner and sipping wine. Katie said, “So what are we going to do about getting off this island? We’ve gathered a significant amount of branches, brush, and vines for a raft and we’ve found a boat. What’s the best way to get us across the river without incident?”
Mo said, “Let’s take the raft. That boat will sink before it’s ten feet into the current.”
Kouri said, “Isn’t there some way we could keep it afloat? Why couldn’t we stuff bundles of brush into the damaged hull and use it the same way we would buoy up a raft.”
“There are too many problems. How would we steer the vessel, the rudder is probably destroy? And we don’t know what shape the rest of the hull is in. And the yacht is too heavy to lift up to find out. Besides, I don’t want to risk my baby’s life again on some half-brained scheme. I’d say let’s get off of this pile of granite as quickly and as safely as we can and get back to civilization and to our lives.” Mo was getting hot—the frustration and constant stress and responsibility she was shouldering was finally getting to her.
“Mother, are you sure there isn’t an easier place to cross the river?”
Saa shook her head, “No.”
Henna said, “How about the motor on that boat. I know it sounds dumb, but maybe it still works.”
Mo said in exasperation, “That heap of boards has been sitting in the water for at least a year. Any motor on it, would be so frozen up with rust that a scrap metal yard wouldn’t even buy it.”
“Stacy said, “There’s still one more room we haven’t explored. I want to check that out and search for a safe in the captain’s cabin. Maybe we’ll find some money. A boat like that was involved in some sort of business and the company had to have made a profit.”
“What are you going to do with money, Stacy, order a new Chris Craft speedboat and have it brought to the dock with a chauffeur to drive us across the waterway?”
Theresa said, “You’ll most likely find an I.O.U. for funds owed on the vessel.”
Kouri said, “We’ve still seen no evidence of a crew; perhaps they jumped overboard or escaped in a life raft.”
Theresa said, “I agree with Kouri, I think that we should try to restore the boat. It would be a lot safer than a raft. A raft could turn over too easily in the current or crocs could climb right up onto it and pull one of us off.”
“You ladies are crazy. That thing probably weighs close to two tons. We’d have to get it on shore, turn it over, and repair or ballast the damaged hull. Impossible. It would take months.”
Katie said, “Let’s sleep on it. In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy this wine.”
Henna said, “I’m with you on that.”
Kouri, wanting to change the subject said, “Returning to Jane Eyre, “Mr. Rochester is a strange character, isn’t he, although he has a robust streak of integrity in him? He falls in love with Jane because she’s true to herself and expresses herself honestly.”
Theresa said, “I think she represents the self and the opportunity he lost when he married that monster who’s lock in the room on the third floor of his estate.”
Kouri said, “He eventually marries Jane after his wife dies and he’s been injured and blinded in the fire. Only then does his arrogance leave him and he becomes self-effacing and respectful of the interests of Jane.”
Katie added, “Do you think women can only be with men on equal terms when a part of the man has been destroyed?”
Henna said, “Not at all. My boyfriend John and I have been friends and lovers for five years. I feel safe with him. I can talk about anything and he’ll listen to me and respect me.”
Kouri said, “I think it depends on the man. Calix and a guy I went out with on an organic farm in France were trustworthy and you could interact with them. The sheriff was another story.
“How about you Mo, what are your thoughts on the basic integrity of men?”
I don’t want to talk about it.” She walked over to the lion’s rug with Stephie on her chest, covered herself up, and went to sleep.
Henna said, “This wine is exceptional, what is it?”
It’s called Frocheaux, a French red.”
Well, at least we’re eating well; I thought we’d all be dead of thirst or starvation by now.”
Theresa said, “Don’t say that, it might come true. Troopers, I’m going to hit the sack.” She was soon followed by the other revelers.
Chapter Twenty-two: October 8
The next morning, Kouri was the first one up. She rekindled the fire, made tea, and sat down to read. The women joined her one by one.
Katie said, “I feel great this morning and don’t even have a hangover. “
Henna responded, “The wine was just what we needed—a little escape and a chance to clear our heads and emotions.”
Kouri said, “Come on troupers, I’m going to lead you in meditation. This will relax and energize you.”
“I’m game.” They all joined in. Even Mo handed her baby to Saa and began breathing deeply with the others.
When they were finished, Henna looked over at the sleeping area and noticed it was empty, “Where’s Stacy?”
Kouri said, “That stupid girl, she probably went out to the boat to investigate the third room.”
Mo, Katie, and Henna picked up weapons and ran through the bush to the north point of the island. When they walked up to the boat, they heard, “You stay right there . . . I’ve got a machete and I’ll chop your nose off if you move a step closer.”
The three women ran onto the boat and climbed down the stairs. They found Stacy pinned against the door at the end of the hall with the crocodile right in front of her. Mo came in fast and chopped into its back with the ax while Stacy slashed the soft tissue on the side of the animal’s neck with her machete.
Stacy said, “Hey, thanks troopers. I was just coming out of that third door when he climbed down the stairs and came after me. I’m sorry to go off on my own like that, but I just had to find out what was in that last cabin.”
“Stacy, you’re going to get yourself killed . . . .”
“You won’t believe what I discovered. It was in the engine room at the end of the hall. And I found lumber, plywood, fiberglass, and resin. We can repair the boat. I know how to do it myself; I help my dad all the time with it. He has a lot of money and always had a yacht of one kind or another.”
Henna said, “Fantastic. That gives us another option.”
“But that’s the least of it . . . look,” and she threw open the door—a skeleton was laying on the floor with an opened metal box in its arms.
Katie said, “”Maybe it’s the captain.”
“That’s what I thought until I opened the box.”
Mo said, “What was in the box?”
“A note with some numbers on it and these,” and she held out her hand.
Mo said, “Holy gees . . . rough cut rubies. They could be worth a fortune. “
“Then I looked at the note and there were four numbers on it, 28-32-14-36— numbers like you’d use to open a safe. So I looked in the captain’s cabin. I tore out all the vegetation and finally found it in the floor under the bed. When I opened it, I found this map.” She handed it to Mo who studied it.
“It’s probably a mine. It’s got all the characteristics of gem bearing soil: Kimberlite Pipes, sedimentary soil, a porous aquifer, and an ancient stream bed. And the geological configuration looks familiar. I may be able to identify the location when I check through my company’s map library. “
Henna said, “They were probably mining illegally somewhere along the river and making a run to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria for supplies and to sell their gems.“
Katie said, “At any rate, this certainly changes our prospects. Let’s return to camp, finish our breakfast, and decide what to do.”
Henna said, “If only we had a cell phone, we could charter a jet to take us straight to London and pay for it with a gemstone.” Laughter.
When they arrived at camp Katie said to Kouri and Theresa, “I’ve got enough new material out of that trip to the boat for another chapter in my book. She proceeded to tell about the skeleton and the rubies while Mo interpreted for Saa. Saa just shook her head in disbelief.
Theresa said, “So technically, we’re rich!”
Mo said, “Depending on the quality of the stones and whether we are allowed to keep them by whatever government’s jurisdiction we fall under, we could, indeed, have a sizable amount of capital resulting from their sale.”
Theresa said, “And as far as the boat is concerned, we now have the option of repairing it . . . that is, if we can move it into a position to gain access to the hull.”
Katie suggested, “Let’s take a vote—the options are: a.) Do we prefer to build and travel on a raft; or b.) Do we repair the boat. If the boat wins, we can attempt to move it. If we can’t, then our only option is the raft.”
Mo explained the choices to Saa. Katie continued, “Alright, who is in favor of the raft?” Mo and Saa raised their hands.
“And who is in favor of repairing the boat?” The five other women and Kisai raised their hands.
“For now, the yacht has it. After breakfast, let’s take a closer look at the vessel.”
Stacy was the first to arrive at the marooned yacht. She wondered around the deck, making a quick run through the three cabins and beaming at her find, the skeleton and the metal box.
On a forward gunwale, she stumbled upon a winch covered with growth on the forward gunwale. She fed a thin wisteria branch through the opening and then tried the handle. It worked. When the troops arrived she said, “Look, our problem is solved—this is a winch. We can run a rope or vine over that branch hanging over the water, and then use it and Shadow, the zebra, to lift the boat.”
Theresa said, “Excellent thinking Stacy. Can we find vines strong enough to support the weight of the boat?
Saa, who had followed the conversation because Stacy was using hand gestures, said to Mo, “I can weave vines together—enough to hold up five boats! Each vine alone is weak, many together are strong.”
Mo repeated what she said and everyone clapped and whistled.
* * *
The work began. Henna and Mo helped Saa gather and weave the tendrils and Kouri, Stacy, and Katie assembled the plywood, fiberglass, resin, and the tools to repair the hull and rudder.
When the woven vines were threaded through the winch, fed over a heavy branch, and attached to Shadow the boat was slowly hoisted up. A round of applause coursed the air.
Katie, Kouri, and Stacy surveyed the hull. In addition to the bow needing repairs, small punctures pockmarked the underside of the vessel. The rudder was completely broken off.
Stacy said, “Piece of cake . . . it doesn’t have to be completely water tight—we’re only going to be in it for fifteen minutes while we enter the current and traverse the river. If you two will cut plywood to cover the damage on the forward hull and support it with the 2x2” lumber, I’ll make plywood patches for the holes. Then I’ll cover all the repairs with fiberglass and resin. With drying time, we’ll be ready to launch day after tomorrow. “
Katie said, “It sounds like you know what you’re doing; let’s get started.”
Work commenced. Mo sat down to nurse Stephie, while Saa and Theresa moved the food and camp nearer to the boat. Mo sang a Masai lullaby and Saa joined in.
Oh baby, grow strong and tall,
When faced with storm, God you must call,
Rest in his hands and you will see,
You and your heart will always be free.
The boat began to take shape. The holes were plugged and the 2x2” frame was nailed into place. Mo made another tour through the cabin—she found a captain’s hat, minus the cloth hood, and set it on Stacy’s head while she worked. She surveyed the interior walls of the vessel and what she could see of the keel to determine if anything else needed repairing.
At lunch, everyone was feeling positive. Theresa and Henna sang, “Erie Canal” and then segued into “Yellow Submarine”.
Theresa said, “How are we going to launch the boat? It’s big and heavy and we don’t have trees on the water to hook vines on. “
Stacy said, “Shadow” and five of us will push the boat from the shore and two will use poles from the deck. The poles can also be used to assist with steering when we’re under way.”
Henna asked, “How far will we have to travel down river before we make the crossing?”
“Perhaps a mile—the river is wide and the current is fast.”
Theresa said, “Stacy, you sound like a real sailor.”
“I am, I grew up in Portsmouth, England and from the age of eight, had my own sailboat. I took cruises with my family in our yacht and have done just about every task you can imagine to keep it afloat and to help us reach our destinations. We’ve been all over: the coasts of Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, the Canary and Azore Islands, and all around the Mediterranean.”
Theresa said, “Mo, once we cross the river, what direction do we go?”
“Saa says we continue south along the river for two days and then inland for one day.”
“Conceivably, if all goes well with the boat and the river, we could stay on the water and cut down on trekking time in the bush—no more lions and hyenas.”
Mo said, “I’ve got to see the boat afloat to believe it—and as far as I’m concerned, we’re pushing our luck staying on the water any longer than we have to. If something goes wrong, we sink and some of us are going to drowned—I don’t want it to be my baby.”
Kouri said, “I understand. This escape has been a huge risk from start to the finish. It’s a miracle that we’ve all made it this far without major injuries or loss of life. We don’t want to endanger anyone any more than we have to when we’ve nearly reached our destination and secured help.”
Katie suggested, “If the liner seems solid and we’re making good time, we can take a vote to determine what to do. If we stay on the craft, we can always dock when things start looking shaky.”
Henna added, “That sounds sensible.”
Mo and Saa talked about village ties and how they might be related. Henna asked Stacy about her sailing experience and told her how she had sailed in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California when she was studying at a cosmetology school. Kouri and Katie conferred on how they might replace the rudder. After the midday meal and a short nap, they returned to work.
Kouri said to Katie, “Our craftsmanship doesn’t look half that bad.”
“No it doesn’t. It may not be good enough to stand up in the Queen’s parlor, but once Stacy puts on a coat of fiberglass, it will be a solid hull. “What about the rudder?”
“It’s getting late, let’s take on that project tomorrow.”
“So Katie, what do you think you might write about when you become a scribe?”
“Africa. The more we travel through the countryside, the more I love it. I had the same experience in the army. When I did a tour of duty in Iraq, I began to feel connected with the land and the people and didn’t want to leave.”
“So you like Africa?”
“I do. I feel alive here. Of course, if I were a resident, I wouldn’t be out in the bush without food or water or weapons—but this is real . . . this is life . . . these are the forces of nature acting all around us. And if I could find someone to share it with me, I might just stay and never return to Australia.”
“I felt the same way in Macedonia when I was with Calix herding sheep. I felt like I was giving of myself when I was assisting at the birth of a lamb or keeping animals from wandering off of cliffs. And Calix’s family was so kind and loving.”
“Do you think you’ll return?”
“Yes I do. Oh, Calix will probably marry a Greek girl that he meets at the university. But I’d enjoy visiting the family again.”
“I hope you do. Now here’s what I imagined we could do about the rudder. If we can find some bolts and nuts, all we’d need to do is cut a piece of plywood about the same size as the original mechanism and then connected it to the metal strap that’s still in place. “
“Excellent Idea, and if it flimsy, we could attach a second piece of plywood to the first one to reinforce it.”
“I think we’ve got it under control. We’re not sailing across the Indian Ocean, just across a river.”
Chapter Twenty-four: October 9
The next day zoomed by. After a hearty breakfast, Kouri, Katie, and Stacy put their attention to the tiller and rudder. They created a mechanism that would guide the craft through the water in a desired direction.
Mo and Theresa moved through the boat, clearing out the remaining vegetation and debris. Henna found a five gallon plastic container with a thick viscous substance in it that turned out to be soap. She garnered some spare garments and proceeded to scrub the walls and deck to make them more appealing.
Towards the end of the day, everyone collected plants and roots and then moved all the food and supplies onto the boat for the launch the following day.
At dinner Henna said, “Are we going to christen our ship with a bottle of wine smashed against the hull?”
Theresa said, “We only have one bottle left; I can think of a much better use for it than shattering it into a thousand pieces.”
Kouri said, “We need a name for our vessel, any ideas?”
Henna said, “How about “The Amazon?”
Stacy said, “We could call it, “The Inner Goddess.”
Mo said, “I like that one.”
Theresa called out, “Let’s name it the “African Dream.’
Everyone laughed. “There were hoots and whistling.”
Mo said, “The African Dream . . . going once . . . going twice . . . going three times. The African Dream it is.
“We’re living the African Dream of a few centuries ago—back then, explorers tested themselves against wild animals, a slew of deadly diseases, headhunters, and warring tribes, so they could find hidden treasures or claim vast untamed lands for their kings.”
Theresa said, “Most of them, like Dr. Livingston, usually succumbed to one of the tropical diseases.”
Katie said, “That’s why we want to get get help as quickly as possible before anything happens to us.”
After dinner Theresa and Mo discussed the ensuing voyage, “Mo, do you think Stacy can handle the tiller?”
“Yea, she has hundreds of hours of experience steering all sorts of yachts. It’s really quite simple, like driving a car. Our main challenges will be leaks in the hull, snags with the tiller, and obstructions in the river.”
“Alright. Mo . . . I just want to thank you for all you’ve done for us. You’ve been a God-send throughout this whole journey. We wouldn’t have escaped the robbers or survived twenty-four hours without you. You’ve saved all of our lives . . . and with a little luck, we’ll all make it back to civilization and get another chance in this world.” She reached out and encircled the leader with her arms.. Mo with tears in her eyes said, “Thank you Theresa . . . thank you for saying that . . . it’s been a real challenge. The last few days I’ve been letting the frustration get to me. You’ve been great, too—strong and steady and doing what needed to be done.”
“We’re almost there, aren’t we?”
“We are . . . . “ The two women walked back to camp with their arms around each other.