Climate change meant that as we lost resources due to pollution and destruction, the resources we had left were unfairly distributed. It wasn't just the monsoons or droughts that caused this to happen; they just allowed the corrupt to dream of its possibility. Eventually giant ships sucked up every cloud, leaching our continent of all moisture, leaving us dry as a bone, stealing our future for profit.
The day they took the last cloud was the day I brought Ademola into this decaying world. Her conception was a mistake, really. I never would have wanted to give my child life in a planet so near death. It seems that I’ve left her an inheritance of nothing, nothing but a lost world and a lifeless continent. I wish I could have given her the Kenya I grew up in. One saturated with culture, food, dance. Not to say we didn't have our own problems. There was still disease, famine, death, war, drought. But there were moments of beauty in between the pain: the smell of ozone in the air before a powerful storm, bringing life to a sickened land, the snow capped peaks of Kilimanjaro in mid-July, the hope that came with the first rain.
The Others stole even that. They came in their big jumbo planes and milked the sky dry, sucked out every bit of moisture across the continent. They had the papers to prove their ownership of our atmosphere. That was in fact all they left behind. A stack of the last paper in Africa, coated in dark ink across every surface.The paper withered in the sun, blew across the barren desert in the wind that wracked the landscape. But not once did those letters ever bleed, never did the crisp paper grow soggy and disintegrate, never once did the corporations ever take pity on us or our parched world. The papers blew with the sands, a reminder of what we had lost. The companies never cared of the wars that were fought once they sucked the land dry, the wars that killed my mother, father, brothers, and my husband two days before I even realized I was pregnant.
That is something that will haunt me forever, the look of my husband's withered face, coated in a thick layer of dust that obscured the dark chocolate eyes and parched lips. I couldn't bring myself to take the liquid that had coursed through their bodies up until the moment of death, even if it meant saving myself from my own inevitable fate. I can’t even remember what it felt like to not be dehydrated, to not have the roof of my mouth feel like sandpaper.
Humans could survive with a surprising lack of water, we had discovered. Or at least the ones that had survived the first drought could. The young and old, the tired and weak had passed on years ago. The Others said this was a good thing, that the few resources that were left could be distributed among fewer people, so that more might survive. I knew this was a lie, a cover-up, a justification for the murders they had committed and had yet to commit.
My dear grandmother had been one of the first to die. The last memory I have of her is on her deathbed, surrounded by her family, her lips as dry as the desert soil, her voice so raspy that it was unrecognizable.
"Water" she croaked.
But when she was handed a small cup of the liquid, the last we had in the house, she thrust a pot into my hands, dropped a seed into the soil and dumped the water on top of it. Then she rolled to one side and drew her last breath. The great Ademola Ojebuoboh, my daughter's namesake, was dead.
And now I too am dying. I am the last one left in my family. I lost my ability to speak on the day my daughter died, just 10 days after she was born. Now I feel my mind is slowly slipping out of my grasp. For the last two nights I have dreamed of a land with water overflowing and a strong man with white robes. He tells me it almost my time.
The flower my grandmother planted has never sprouted, but this is my dying wish. Please give it the life my daughter never had.