A door sprang open, swung to the wall and began a slow return journey. Underneath the revealed curtain, two small feet searched for slippers. A little girl emerged and side stepped for the door to close.
Dark, shiny, 3 maybe 4 years old, clad in over sized white cotton panties, she squinted at the sun and rubbed her belly. It was the quiet time of afternoons, the time of lethargy and siesta. No one was about.
She was in a large compound with single rooms built in two rows with a large cemented courtyard in the middle. The block of rooms facing hers had 12 doors, some closed, and others open with curtains shivering.
She called. “Bingo!”
An ear perked up, one eye opened.
“Bingo, Bingo.” she cooed.
The other ear and the other eye reluctantly became involved as Bingo stretched, yawned, and shook itself to power. All compounds like these had one or two of these ekwukes with no origins. They were completely useless and docile; communally owned, communally fed.
As Bingo approached, the little girl walked to an end of the compound, towards the latrine, her newly braided hair shining in the sunlight.
The latrine was a simple relationship between zinc and wood. A bent nail served as its lock and key. Beside it inclined the bathroom, small enough to service only one at time. It had no door; the facility operated an open door policy, but patrons were free to come with large towels or wrappers to hang over the entrance.
The little girl didn’t make it to any of these; she walked towards the wall and stopped before the long indention that led water to the outside. She turned around searched for a good site, found one, and squatted.
Her security detail sat on its haunches and kept its gaze averted.
She wasn’t feeling it, something was wrong. She looked down, discovered the anomaly and made the adjustment. Now that her panties were out of the way everything felt right, and with a look of concentration and diligence she began the job.
Finished with the first little structure, she side stepped the building and proceeded to start another. Bingo cast a furtive glance at the mound and looked away.
She was done. Two structures confirmed it. Bracing her elbows on her knees, she positioned herself and snapped her fingers at Bingo. Bingo knew its duty. Their affair didn’t start this afternoon. She closed her eyes as the wet toweled tongue cleaned her up. It always tickled.
She pulled her panties up and turned around to survey her little buildings. Satisfied at the handwork, she snapped her fingers at Bingo to demolish them. Having just had dessert, Bingo proceeded to the main course.
Let it not be said that Bingo was useless or did not feed well. This was economy at its best textbook – no pollution, no waste, no expense.
The little girl skipped her way back to the room she emerged from, pulled the door open and entered. The door slowly returned.
Up in an adjacent storeyed building, an observer had seen it all.
Flicking blond hair from her eyes, she lowered the camera, and turned from her hotel room window. She was in a slight daze. She didn’t know how to wrap her mind round what she had just observed. It wasn’t unbelievable, it wasn’t too strange, it wasn’t so very disgusting. It was just one of those mind clenching things one sees only in Africa.
Things so random and out of place; the kind of pictures that makes a photo journalist famous. Staring at her from the camera screen was a close up of the little girl’s face with her eyes closed as the dog attended to her from behind. She scrolled through more, every capture perfect. She couldn’t wait to add all these to her collection. With these pictures her Pulitzer didn’t seem too distant.
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