Every day down the same road toward Jinja Town the dog rides next to the aid worker in the company Land Rover. Sometimes the only wake the vehicle leaves is a gust of disturbed lake breeze on the faces of the schoolchildren walking the road’s shoulder.
Other times, as is more often the case, when the air is dry, the soil cracked, and the heat too blistering to bear, billows of red dust plume behind the vehicle and linger like mushroom clouds, constricting the breath of the walkers.
On the worst days, when the rain is relentless and the thick red soil is too slippery to be certain of one’s steps, the vehicle with the dog and man slops the children’s uniforms with thick, viscous mud, guaranteeing scorn upon arrival to school, not only for coming late and hungry, but also now wet and soiled.
Unlike other vehicles, not once does the man ever slow or stop to offer a ride. Not once must the dog shift from the front-seat view of the road’s horizon to share space with the children they pass.
Four miles in any weather.
SARAH ROSE HAUGHN is a poet, placental conspirator, and doctoral candidate in Performance Studies at UC Davis. She also completed a MA in Creative Writing from the same university. Sarah currently resides in Iowa where she is finishing her dissertation and working on her first collection of poems. Her poetry has been published in the Nigerian literary magazine Saraba and is forthcoming in 3Elements Review.