Zelri Marais, Grade 4, Kings Christian College
Finalist in the 'Inspired 2019' competition
It all began on a late Tuesday evening when Pa stepped back into the house, back from work at 6pm sharp. Not a second before. Not a second after. As usual. “Hello, my dear Lavina” he said as he addressed my sister. “Hallo my darling Charity’ pa shouted as he lifted me off the floor and into a tight embrace. “I received some exciting news! Go find your Mother.” Later, around the dinner table, Pa shared the stirring news, that left us all in silence. “It’s a letter from the Government, saying we have been selected to relocate to New Holland!”
There was a lot to be done over the next couple of days. We all had to pitch in to prepare us for the long trip lying ahead. Pa had to tend to the land and sell the farm animals. Mother, Livina and I had to get everything wrapped in cloth and packed for the extended journey. On the last day of packing, she handed each of us a scarf she had made specially with our favourite colours.
Before long, it was time to go. Our trunks were packed, and we were on our way. After an hour’s drive on the rickety carriage, we arrived at the docks. A military officer led us to our rooms and helped us get comfortable.
Given the season, we had quite a rough ride on the open sea. Soon there was no more fresh fruit and vegetables and our diet consisted of mostly porridge and baked bread. Not long after the supplies ran dry, many passengers got sick, and the overall mood on the ship was gloom.
We were not spared. Mother’s health deteriorated as she started showing signs of scurvy. Later she also suffered from pneumonia. I remember her holding my hand and whispering under her last breath: “I love you, Charity.”
4 Months later…
“Land ho!” I heard first mate yell. A military officer came rushing below deck and prompted us to climb up through the hatch. As I pulled my Mother’s scarf tighter around my face and neck, I clambered down the long plank, that connected the boat to the land. Looking up, my eyes filled with tears as I whispered softly: “Mother, I wish you were here to see this! It is green and lush… New Holland, our new home. You would have loved it here!”