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Wednesday, 4 May 2005

Darkness Falls

When dusk drifts in, a veil of shadows, all at once the little things start to speak. Crickets. Frogs. Songbirds. Shouting their last hurrah as another day’s dramas come to a close. The sunset burns a bursting-out orange, and as it slips below the horizon the forest comes alive with trees silhouetted against the sky.

Sound carries on the air – radios, laughter. There is a sweet smell of woodsmoke and charcoal as braziers begin to burn, to cook the evening pot of nsima.

Later, at night, the sky is inky-black, shattered by stars and flaunting a full-fat moon. It is completely still and peaceful, the world suspended, hanging in the clear air. An occasional low owl hoot is the only thing to break the silence.

But in between these layers is a feeling of oppression. Dusk closes quickly, there are no lights. Fumbling, stumbling, a velvet smothering, mozzies biting, and when finally you find where you left the candle, the moths attack.

You can’t see to cook your dinner or find the longdrop. There is a rustling in the bushes, unknown whatnots. And it is in this heavy in-between-time that schoolchildren must study. By candlelight.

Currently fundraising for: Solar lighting for our school