by Marijke Hillmann
The camper ambles its way through the Tete Province, Mozambique on a sweltering, humid late afternoon in 1975.? Our 13 months? old son is dozing off in his seat ? I sit next to him and hold the bottle he has just finished drinking.
Screeching brakes:? the sliding door is opened and I stare at the barrel of an AK47. Five armed child soldiers aged between 10 and 14 clamber onto the bus; number five keeps his gun pointed at the baby. Frozen in time ? I just stare.? Then my hands cover the baby ? he stirs and sleeps on.
Disjointed images? I watch rivulets of sweat moving slowly towards a protruding belly button under a torn camouflage shirt, two buttons are missing. ?Does this boy have a mother?? I wonder.?
Some excitement amongst the other four ? they point their rifles at my husband and indicate that he must open the little fridge; in awe they touch the cold cans and milk bottles stored there.? Chattering amongst themselves, they open the glove compartment and pick up the little portable fan on the dashboard.
After a few minutes my husband calls them to order: ?listen you guys ? he points at his watch ? the border closes at 6 pm ? off you go now ? no more nonsense?.? With a movement of his head he directs them outside.? I catch my breath???????..
The five recruits disembark and glance backwards once more at the little white miracle. Their minute of excitement for the day, a defining moment in my life.
We drive on and reach the border in time.
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