Maia Gread, Grade 6
I was with mamma and papa. Anaya and Zaina were with us. We were outside, in spring, picking berries. Anaya and mamma and me, filled our baskets high. Papa was with Hagan, who was a little toddler. The day was incredible.
Once the sun decided to leave for the day, we all went back inside for tea. I can remember our small little cottage; it was not far from town. We forgot to pick up the baskets, because mamma forgot about the rice.
Hagan and I went to take in the baskets. When we picked up the baskets, a white scrubby ute appeared; we ignored it and continued walking. It skidded in front of us, but we continued. Papa yelled at us, but we didn’t hear. The engine was rather noisy.
Papa yelled louder, almost bellowing, for us to come in. Papa knew what was going on. I started to sprint, forgetting about Hagan. I remembered just as I reached the door, I dropped the baskets, just as a tough looking man appeared out of the car. I desperately ran towards Hagan. The man grabbed little Hagan by the neck, and pulled him towards the ute. He scowled at me; what was happening? I fumbled to hitch up my skirt to run, but it was too late.
I was tossed into the vehicle next to a hysterical girl, screaming “LET ME GO!” “WHY?” She was banging her fists on the back window of the ute; tears streaming down her cheeks, her eyes red and puffy. “STOP!” “What’s happening?” I managed to force out, as the car drove away from home, and mamma and papa and Zaina and Anaya began to sprint down the driveway. Hagan sat on my lap. “We are getting taken from our families forever” the wailing girl spluttered out. I held out my hand, “Nia. My name is Nia.” Bravely the girl said “I’m Zalika” And that was how we met, in the backseat of a rusty white ute.
The ute skidded to a stop, and Tough Guy threw open the door. I noticed tattoos running down his arms. Hagan, me, Zalika, and some other kids, Jaleesa, Jae, scrambled out of the ute, and we stared in awe at the factory. “Come.” Tough Guy said and we ran along behind.
We entered the factory. There were kids everywhere. We were lead through tones of doors, until we reached an office. A man sat in a chair, scrutinising us all. He had a ratty face. “You,” His bony finger pointing at me; “crushing. And him too.” The Rat pointing his finger to the side; Hagan toddled next to me. He finished sorting, and we were taken to different spots.
Now, I barely see Zalika. She works picking the coco beans. Hagan and I crush them. Hagan is 10 now, me 13. Zaina and Anaya would be 14 now. I wonder about Zaina and Anaya, a lot. My hands are red, bare, and scratched up, so are Hagan’s. It’s been 7 years.
This will always be our home; a coco bean factory in Africa.