Word count: 1 184
Characters (space excluded): 5 602
Chipo the Berry-Picker
In a parallel world, perhaps not too distinct from our own, in the country of Alrica, lived a six year girl named Chipo. She was the youngest of her eight brothers and sisters. They lived next to a corn field, which had been passed down the last ten generations. The family was unconsciously following the deterministic pattern her previous generation did, as well as the generation before that and so on.
The six oldest, plus the parents, were attending to the fields and constantly maintaining the little shack they rebuilt after a small storm. Chipo and Ebele, her second youngest sister, were picking berries of all colours in the forest.
They do not speak Engrish like the Albericans do, but Swalili and has been translated in this text. Ebele caught Chipo eating the berries she had picked: “Hey Chipo, you shouldn’t eat the berries now! We are going to share them with everyone when we get home!” Chipo made her cutest smile and tried to play innocent: “I didn’t eat them, I just tasted them! But I saw you did the same just a moment ago!”
Ebele stomped her foot: “DID NOT! Besides, it was just one!” They both giggled. Their mother had weaved a basked out wide leaves which Ebele was carrying. Chipo emptied her hand into the basket and grabbed Ebele’s free hand. “Let’s go home, we haven’t eaten today.”
The pair of happy girls skipped back home and found their mother finishing a corn-stew. She served her eight kids, her husband and scraped the wooden bowl for her own. They were all silent, eyes set on their own bowl, busy eating. They finished and the mother opened conversation: “We’ve decided what to use our money on, now that we have saved up from selling corn over the years. Chipo, in a week’s time, we’re going to start sending you to school. It is all we can afford for now; I hope you will learn something useful.”
Chipo was getting excited; she smiled from ear to ear and jumped into her mother, squeezing out a hug. For the first time in her life, she could see every family member smiling at once. They were all happy for her and took turns in giving out a hug.
The last one to receive a hug was Ebele. She wanted to save the best for the last. Chipo was just about to wrap her arms around Ebele when she started coughing. Chipo would let Ebele finish, but she kept going. They could all hear that her throat was getting dry, and she started coughing blood. Her face turned slightly blue while her mother carried her outside. She started puking an orange-pink colour, from her food and blood. The rest of the family couldn’t do anything but to watch. Slowly the eight-year-old sunk down to the earth in the pool of her fluids. She died, unknowing about the poisonous berries.
They were down to three sisters and four brothers, five with kwashiorkor. This sickness is widespread across Alrica; it’s a protein-deficiency which causes swollen abdomen. That very same month, Chipo started school. She couldn’t help feeling excited, but was dishevelled by thoughts of her sister.
A few years passed, the family maintained their work, pulled through and was later able to send the youngest brother to school. By this time, Chipo had already learnt reading and writing in Swalili, but also knew basic Engrish. She could do Abbition, Subraction and other Malmatical processes.
Chipo turned fourteen on the year of the trouble. Alberica and many countries in the Eulope had decided to raise funds for Alrica. They sent huge bags of rice for free to the Alrican people. Everyone rejoiced and enjoyed their lives the following months. Alberica sent several shipments, pleasing the people.
The people were supplied from the summer until winter. During the fall, Chipo and her family encountered a major problem. They had their income from selling their corn to the local market. The local market however, had diminished into almost-nothingness. No one was interested in paying for their food, when it was supplied out in the open as a public good.
That fall, was the fall for Chipo. Her crops turned rotten and due to their lack of money, she couldn’t go to school anymore. They were put eight years back in time. Chipo refused to accept this, especially when the rice stopped flowing in. So far, she had viewed the years of school as fun, but useless as a tool. She would then unconsciously use her general thinking as a weapon against the first world’s short-sighted solutions.
She used the last fortune of her family for a pen and paper. She wrote three copies of her essay which explained her situation and reflected upon the lack of long-term stability to the community. She gave the three copies to the city mayor. She asked for one copy to be sent to her country’s president, while the last would go the president of Alberica.
Chipo turned twenty before her life changed. A factory was raised in her local area; she applied for a job and was hired. For the motivation of her family, she was trained and kept working there for a full year. Her boss came to her on her twenty-first birthday with two items. In one hand, was a little cupcake with icing on top. In the other hand, the boss held a newly founded national newspaper. Chipo opened it and read out the title: “Alberican Economists agree with fourteen year old Alrican Chipo.”
Every segment in the production stopped, turned silent and was fixed to her as she continued through the main-body: “A short essay was mailed from Alrica six years ago. This essay has now heavily influenced Alberican economists’ view of Alrican aid programmes. The little girl explains how a short-term aid programme ruined her community and life. Economist Adam Smith comments the situation: ‘We have long tried to give relief to the Alrican countries, but proof has now shown we must change our plans. We must stop using pain-killers and start curing with the appropriate medicine.’ Shortly after Adam Smith’s comment, factories have been built all over Alrica. These will provide work for the people, giving a chance to earn money to pay their schools, real production of goods and tools for general improvement of life quality, and a focused life with more purpose. The Alrican people deserve a chance to not-simply-survive.”
That day, every earning worker of the community collected their income for a party in Chipo’s honour. The party was like no other seen in Alrica, over-flowing with clean water and other tasteful beverages, as well as an abundance of food for deserving souls to be stuffed.
On Chipo’s sixtieth birthday, she stepped down from work, wanting to live a peaceful life of farming with her automatic tools, produced in the local area. She now enjoys her life with her husband and two children. The children have finished ten years of school and enjoy their life as engineers in the current age of 32 and 30.
For those who didn't understand some of the words, here's a little dictionary:
Alberica = America
Alrica = Africa
Eulope = Europe
Engrish = English
Swalili = Swahili
Malmatics = Mathematics
Abbition = Addition
Subraction = Subtraction