At the end of the day in Somalia, when the camels come in, tired and hungry from the desert, it is too soon to milk them and feed the children.
The camels must rest first and be content. So the village people gather, as the sun slips over the edge of the world, and wait for the stars to come out.
The children are tired too, tired and hungry. They sit with their grandparents and their parents and watch the stars wheel in the sky, telling the time when the camels will be ready and the milk will come. To make the waiting seem less slow, the grandparents and parents tell stories, one for each named star as it appears in the sky until at last the milk star shines brightly and the children can be fed
This story comes out of Africa – out of Somalia to be exact, and it was told as part of a presentation on reading activism – or more simply put, ‘getting books to children’. That talk was part of a panel discussion during International Children’s Book Week in Stockholm in October 2010. The speaker was Said Ahmed and he spoke with passion about his mission to bring books to the children of his country. In this section of the website, CBN will bring you stories out of Africa and out of everywhere – to read aloud, to read alone; to read.
The photographs with this article feature Sindiwe Magona (flying) Gcina Mhlophe (telling) and Thandi Swartbooi (drumming).