Three Close Friends
| "Oh wow, Sean!" exclaimed Jessica Brooks one sunny afternoon in August. "I'm so excited about going on this awesome trip!"
"I know," said Sean Christianson. "It will be fun. Besides, we thirteen-year-olds deserve a break from our same old routine."
"Yeah," Maya Sanchez piped up. "It's gonna be so much fun!"
The three teenagers had decided several months ago that they wanted to take a trip to Africa. They wanted to see the sights and learn more about African culture. They had been dreaming about this vacation for months.
"I'm excited, guys," Maya said. "I hope to meet a lot of people there."
Both Sean and Jessica nodded in agreement.
"I really hope we get to go to East Africa," said Sean. "I've always wanted to go there."
"Yeah, same here," replied the others.
The Trip to East Africa
| Sean's parents, Florence and Winston, took the teenagers to the airport, where they would be officially on their way to Africa.
"Now, kids," said Florence, "you will need to make sure your bags are at the baggage claim when you get off the plane. Sean Edward Christianson, you are in charge."
"Me?" asked Sean.
"Yes, you. You're in charge of your bags. Jessica and Maya are in charge of theirs."
"Oh brother," said Maya, "I'm in huge trouble now."
"No, you're not," said Sean, "it's just that you have to take care of your own bags and let me take care of mine."
"Sean's right," added Jessica. "He knows all about traveling."
After they arrived at the airport, the teenagers told the Christiansons good-bye and sat down at a table to wait for their flight.
Ten minutes later, they heard a voice over the loudspeaker announcing that the flight to East Africa, which was flight 3322, would be boarding in five minutes.
"Yes!" Jessica exclaimed. "Five minutes!"Five minutes later, Jessica, Sean, and Maya boarded the airplane to East Africa. They had to fly for thirteen hours in order to get there.
When they finally arrived in East Africa, they were so happy and anxious to get off the plane. "I am excited," they all shouted.
| The teenagers, Sean, Jessica, and Maya, all collected their bags at the baggage claim and saw a young lady moving closer towards them.
"Hi," said Jessica. "My name is Jessica, and I'm with my two closest friends. We're here for--"
"I know who you are," the young lady interrupted. "My name is Sophie, and I am from America, believe it or not. I moved here to East Africa three years ago. Yes, I know I have a bit of an African accent by now, but when you've been here three years like I have, you can't help but catch the accent."
All three teens nodded in agreement.
"Okay now," said Sophie, "what we're about to do is leave the terminal and go to my house. I have a pretty nice house compared to some people here. I have a very nice, very handsome husband and three awesome, wonderful kids."
"Kids!" exclaimed Jessica. "I love kids. How old are they?"
"Jackie is ten, Ann is six, and Savanna is two. Jackie is actually short for Jacqueline, but I prefer spelling it like J, a, c, k, i, e instead of J, a, c, q, u, i."
"I see," said Sean. "It's like my parents. They have a nephew named Shawn, but they spell my name the old-fashioned way, as they call it. That is, S, e, a, n. Their nephew's name is spelled S, h, a, w, n."
"I understand," replied Sophie. "All right, are you all ready to go?"
"Yes!" they all exclaimed.
| After everyone arrived to the house they were going to stay in, Sean decided to pick his bedroom. "I want the big red room," he told Sophie.
"Sure," Sophie said. "That's the master bedroom. You'll love that one."
Jessica and Maya decided to share a room. They picked the yellow and green room.
"After you get your things situated, we'll be going on an exciting adventure!" said Sophie, smiling.
They all went to the ocean and rode all kinds of boats. They swam in the ocean, too, and got tossed a lot by the waves.
"Help!" yelled Maya. "Help! I'm drowning! I'm drowning!"
"I'm coming, Maya!" called Jessica. "I've got you!"
With some effort, Jessica reached Maya against the waves and current, and they went back to shore safely.
jackie and the girls.
| "you gave us a scare, maya!" sophie exclaimed as jessica and maya reached the shore. " do you not swim as well as the others?. "
" it's not that," said maya. " it's the sea.. it's rather rough today. it makes it difficult to stay a float, you know?."
" i understand," sophie nodded. " now we've got that sorted, anyone for another ride on the boat?. "
sean, obviously not put offf by what happened just now, agreed. him and sophie went for 1 last ride on the boat while jessica and maya relaxed on the shore. it was a warm day, and they could feel the sun beating down on them. it was lovely.
when sophie and sean returned, they found jessica almost asleep and maya lying on the sand.
" come on, girls, " sophie said. " their's a lot to do. we need to go and get the kids from school, then, find something for dinner. "
the african school was not really a school, at all. it wasn't even that big. it consisted of a single room, about the size of a small tent. sitting on the floor around the tent, were all the children and at the front, a teacher was talking to them.
" gosh, they are so diffrent to our schools. " jessica said. " i'm glad that i don't have to study in such a small room. "
" it's amazing," maya said. " just think of all those children piled in to such a small room. "
" it must be hard for them, " aded shaun. " such limited resources."
soon, the 3 children, ann, jackie, and savanna, came dashing out of the school towards sophie.
" i want you to meet my 3 friends, this is sean, this is maya, and this is jessica. they are interested in our culture, and are staying here for a few weeks. i've lots planned for them, so they won't bother you too much. anyway, you'll be at school during the day. "
" do they have beds?", the middle child, ann, asked.
" they've chosen their rooms. don't worry, they are very nice and polite. "
jackie stuck her tung out, as if to say.. and since when were visitors polite?
" let's go home," said sophie. " i'm sure our friends are hungry, you know they've just flown 13 hours to get here. "
" i don't care if they had to swim in a river full of sharks," jackie stated. " make them leave. "
nothing was said on the way home. the silence was awkward.
the children themselves, were actually very smart.
jackie, the eldest, had lovely clothes. it made maya envious. the most attractive thing about ann, was her beautiful smile that she constantly wore. and as for savanna, well, her eyes said it all. brite blue and full of wonder and curiosity.
" we're home," said sophie. " everyone inside, i'll get the dinner on."
sophie's house, was indeed, a nice house. okay, so it wasn't up to the standards of royalty, but she got by.
the first level contained a small kitchen, an observation deck/ chill out area, and a tiny bathroom big enough for only 1 person at a time.
the second level was where the bedrooms were. they were small, with a bed in the centre, a little wooden wardrobe, and a tiny window that opened up on to the african landscape.
" it's perfict," jessica sighed with contentment as she sat on her bed. " this is going to be 1 good adventure. "
" i wonder if we'll get to see much of the towns?" said maya. " you know, the actual reality of living in africa?. "
" sure, " said jessica. " sophie seems to know what she's doing, and i for 1, am glad to be here in this nice house with all my friends, and sophie, and her children. "
" me too, " said maya. "
the sun streamed in to the big red room. sean, tired from his boating adventure, was lying on his bed looking out at the landscape. he had so many questions for sophie. their was so much he wanted to know about africa, that he just didn't know where to begin.
"dinner!" called sophie from the kitchen.
eager to see what sort of food she had on offer, they rushed in to the kitchen to sit down.
the room was warm, and very light. jackie, anne, and savanna, were sitting around the table, too. each of them had a plate of delicious looking pasta in front of them.
" help yourself," sophie said. " i made plenty. i know how hungry you must be. "
2 hours later, they all finnished dinner. all the pasta had been cleared, in fact sophie had to make another batch just for jessica, who was the hungriest out of all of them.
" i suppose we should go up to bed," said jessica. she turned to the others. " i'm not sure about all of you, but i'm going to explode i ate so much!"
" well eat less, then, piggy. " growled jackie.
sophie scowled. " jackie, be nice. you can do that can't you?. i'll even buy you that skateboard you wanted. "
" fine, " said jackie. " but don't get used to it. "
turning to jessica, sophie continued. " sorry about jackie. that girl's so spoilt and thinks she runs the place. but she's nice once you get to know her, if you can get in to her circle of friends. now, do you fancy a tour of the surrounding grounds?"
their were yawns from all sides of the table.
" we should settle in for the night, actually. " a weary maya just managed to say.
" i think it's best, you have had a long day. sleep, and tomorrow we'll learn more about africa. you can ask me what ever you want. "
with that, the table was cleared, and the beds occupied.
silence filled the small house. no one even spoke, as soon as their heads touched the pillow, they were gone.
camels and conversations.
| jackie walked in to the girl's room the next morning, a huge smile on her face.
" get up, piggy!" she roard at jessica. " and you, little tiny maya, waky waky. "
she then proceeded to sean's room and woke him up by calling him " only boy. "
sophie heard all this, in fact she was really angry with jackie.
" young lady, " she began. " do you want that skateboard?. "
" screw the skateboard," jackie was quick to respond. " it's fun to bully these kids!. "
" pay no attention to her, " said sophie. " she'll learn. by the end of your holiday, you'll be good friends. trust me. "
the 3 friends wern't convinced, but they said nothing.
" so today, we're going camel riding. i know a place nearby where you can ride the cammels, and learn all about them. now wouldn't that be fun?. "
" a camel?. what's a camel. " asked maya, who had clearly never heard of such a thing.
" it's like a horse. " said sean. " you can ride it. "
" duh!. " interupted jackie. " what do you think you do with it?. wear it on your head?. "
the morning passed, and eventually sophie and the friends were alone, headed to the camels.
" can i ask you a question?" asked jessica. " why does jackie and your other kids have to go to school?. it's august!. in america, that's summer holidays. "
" it would be nice if they could join us," aded maya.
sophie explained. " well, we're lucky. in africa, their's a lot of people not as well off as we are. some people don't even have indoor bathrooms. they walk miles every day to get water from a well. every day. can you imagine that?. they don't even have much money, for food, proper schooling, even health care. ".
" luckily, their are free education programmes, like the one you saw yesterday. places are limited, and they exist to teach children to go out to work, as young as 11 years old. they need to go out, and work for themselves, and for their families. "
" but surely being american, you could aford 1 of the top schools?. " jessica asked.
" to tell you the truth," said sophie, " i probably could. but like i said, we're well off.. and the kids need something to do so i enrolled them. you can never have enough knolledge, " she aded.
" and what work do these young children do?" asked sean.
" all sorts of things," said sophie. " i'm going to take you to 1 of the african towns while you're here, you'll see..."
she sighed. " oh, missed the turning... that's you asking all those questions!".
all 3 giggled.
the cammel rides were lovely. maya, who had never even heard of camels in her life, was most excited. they all rode multiple times, and they all learnt lots about how camels live, what they are used for, and even got to ask questions themselves.
by the time it was lunch time, they were so focussed on the camels, that sophie said they could stay the afternoon, too. despite the fact she wanted to take them to a local water park.
" we can do it tomorrow, " she said. " you've a lot of time left to experience africa. "
the afternoon came and went. the friends really didn't want to go, but when sophie suggested that they could come back another day, they smiled and headed home.
that evening, jessica and anne decided to explore the grounds. maya, sean, and jackie, took to sitting on the observation deck, sharing stories about their lives. sophie thought it was a great way to learn the diffrences between america and africa.
savanna, sat with a colouring book, eddy the elephant, and friends.
it was a nice evening. a gentle wind rustled the trees, making the air seem cooler than their first night.
| "so," said sophie, when everyone was seated around the breakfast table the next morning" yesterday we went to see the cammels and you all enjoyed riding them, today I think as a treat we can go on a safari"
maya looked at josh " what is a safari?"
"A safari", explained josh, " is a place where you can look at all diffrent animals in the open. they sometimes come up really close and try to eat the car."
" don't scare her," sophie said. " maya, it will be fine. you like animals right?. you'll love this safari"
sophie dropped he kids off at school, and then they set off for the safari
oscar the safari guide was waiting for them.
" welcome" he said, " to the safari".
he smiled at the children in the back seat. "and I hear someone likes animals", he aded.
the safari was a lot of fun. sophie drove the car, as many diffrent animals- some big, some small, tried grasping at the car and to get in
shaun, who was sitting next to maya for the whole journey, took on the role of explaining to her the diffrent animals
" and this," he said. " is a lion. lions are very common in africa."
" he's like simba" she said.
shaun laughed. " probably not as friendly though".
a little further on, shaun turned to her and said, " this is a zebra. a zebra is another really common animal in africa."
maya tried to think of a famous zebra from a movie, but couldn't think.
so in sted she said, " he looks funny. look at the funny stripes".
they went on to see a giraffe, some birds, a gorilla, and even some Hyenas.
oscar the guide, who had remained quiet, turned to shaun and asked, " how do you know so much about african animals?. you're really good with maya".
" colouring books" said shaun. " maya does a lot of colouring, and I help her with it".
maya smiled at josh.
at the end of the safari, oscar led them all to the gift shop.
inside their was a number of things that they could buy to remind them of their adventure.
sheaun braught maya a coloring book, and jessica got herself a mug with a picture of a lion on it, and the words "I went on safari!"
" thank you oscar," said sophie, " for sticking with us through the safari."
"no problem," oscar said. "I really hope you enjoyed it."
" oh we enjoyed it," all the friends said at once. " we really did enjoy it."