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Sahara Trade Journals

Ella: Ebele- Mercy and Kindness


Natalie: Nia-Purpose
Entry 1 Ella (Ebele):
Dear journal
December 13, 1839 B.C.E in Timbuktu, Mali:
I woke up from the beautiful sound of the Niger river flowing from the Atlantic
Ocean and the grass waving in the wind. All of these sounds reminded me of the
journey I will take today with my sister, Nia. I ran over to Nias room in our small
grass hut, in the sandy savanna desert to tell her that we need to get going. After I
told her to hurry up, I realized she wasn't in the mood for screaming because she
yelled, Leave me ALONE!!!!. I was so excited for our journey that I packed five
days early. This journey will successfully end by Nia and I finding our parents. Our
parents left us one day on what they called a business trip, but they never returned. I
was 10 years old and Nia was 9 when we were abandoned. Luckily, an old lady
named Ayana found us struggling and adopted us. Ayana was an old family friend
and knew where our parents went. Sadly after 12 years of living with Ayana, she
became sick and died later that year. We decided since were older now, that we would
go to Mecca, Arabia in search of our parents. I will travel in a camel caravan with
Nia and of course a berber nomad guide. I will bring some items with me to trade
with muslims. I will bring dates, gold, dried fish, weapons, and salt. As I walked
outside I saw Nia waiting for me as the cool breeze flowed through her dark brown
hair. It was time to go.
-Ebele

Entry 1

December 13, 1839 B.C.E Timbuktu, Mali


Dear Journal,
I woke up this morning from the sound of Ebele shouting my name.
Niiiiiaaaaa!!!!! I heard her shouting from outside our small grass hut. I was not
in the mood to be yelled at at 6:30 in the morning. I knew today was a very
important day and that Ebele was just excited, but I still felt the need to
scream at her. Leave me ALONE!!!! I screamed back at her angrily. I knew we
were in a hurry and didnt have that much time, but at this point, all I wanted
was an hour more of sleep. I was 21 years old and have never been a
morning person. Unfortunately, the trip I was about to start today required me
to be awake at 6:30 in the morning. I decided to obey my older sister and just
get out of bed. Ebele and I were about to take a VERY long trip to Mecca,
Arabia in search of our parents who left us when I was 9 due to a business
trip, but never came back. Being so young, we refused to assume they were
dead. We still do. Ebele was 10 when this all happened. We are also taking
along a berber guide for assistance during the journey. We wouldnt be taking
this journey alone if Ayana was still alive. Ayana was an old family friend and
adopted us when our parents had disappeared. 12 years after adopting us,
she passed and we were alone again. As I walked outside, I saw Ebele eagerly
waiting for me. I could feel the cool breeze blow against my skin and my long
brown hair while standing on the sandy savanna along to the Niger river. I
decided that I would take along most of my beads, rice, salt, dates, weapons,
and gold along with me on the journey to trade with the Muslims along the way.
Well, thats it for now!
-Nia

Entry 2 Ella (Ebele):


Dear journal
January 4, 1840 B.C.E Ghat, Africa,
After over a month of traveling, we finally reached water! Nia and I are in the
middle of an oasis in Ghat. All we wanted to do was to rest but our food supply has

been running low. Luckily, our water supply is good. Food is important to give us
energy for many more months of hard work. After I rest a little bit, Nia and I will
go find a trade market. It has been a grueling, month journey and the flowing palm
fronds of the palm tree calm me and protect me from the harsh African sun. Ow,
our berber nomad guide screamed. The scream startles me so I run to him.
Something seemed so wrong because half of his body is under ground and the other
half is above ground. QUICKSAND!!!! This is going to set us back a few hours. I
hope that Bongani would be prepared since he is pretty familiar with the desert. I tell
Bongani (berber nomad guide) to stay calm and not to make quick movements. I
instruct Bongani to slowly move one leg at a time out of the quicksand. Nia
commanded him to lean back and try to rise his legs to the surface. Finally after
several minutes of ordering, Bongani escaped the quicksand. I guess Bongani wasnt that
prepared after all, but at least he survived. After a few hours of walking, Nia and I
come across a trade market! I traded with the merchants, a little bit of gold for
some arabian spices and boiled candies. Our food supply will now be full for our
journey ahead. Since the oasis wasnt that far from the market Nia and I decided to
go back and spend a night there. The first night at the oasis was a cold quiet night.
The moon sparkling in the water of the beautiful oasis, reminds me of my mom's eyes
glowing from the light in my room. She would tell Nia and I myths about Africa. I
look up at the moon and remind myself why Im here, to find my parents. To find
the people who abandoned me. I knew my parents for a quite while, and they didnt
seem to be people that would do something so cruel. There has to have been a pretty
good reason to leave us. Something startles me during a deep sleep. I heard two men
whispering and running. Immediately I get out of bed and run towards the camels to
see a big mess on the sand. All of our food was on the ground, destroyed. As soon as
I take one good look at the mess, I hear loud footsteps coming from behind me. Nia
has joined me with the same look I had when I saw what they did. We were both
shocked that we stared at each other for a few seconds. Most of our food is gone!
We've been robbed! All we had left was some broken beads and so little of gold.
-Ebele

Entry 2
January 4 1840 B.C.E Ghat, Africa
Dear journal,
Ebele and I have been traveling for almost a month now and have finally
reached in Oasis in Ghat! At that moment all I wanted to do was collapse
under the cool palm fronds protecting me from the sun. Soon after filling our
water bottles and ourselves up with water, we heard our berber nomad guide
(Bongani), scream for help. Instantly we thought to ourselves, QUICKSAND!!!! I
saw Ebele run to him as he struggled to get out. Although he seemed he knew
the desert very well as a nomad guide should, he did not seem to be at all
prepared for quicksand. I knew this would set us back a while and the sooner
I helped, the sooner we would be able to continue our journey. I heard Ebele
instructing him to stay calm and not make any sudden movements. She then
ordered him to SLOWLY move one leg out of the sand at a time. I ran over to
the guide and started commanding him to lean back and start to try to rise
his legs to the surface. Eventually, after several minutes of shouting, Bongani
was able to escape the quicksand. The three of us continued to travel through
Ghat with a full water supply, but a very low food supply. Fortunately,
between Ebele and I, we had had plenty of gold to trade for food. We
continued a little further before encountering a trade market! Perfect timing!
We thought to ourselves.
I traded some of my gold for some boiled candies, spices, and dried fruit. It
should have lasted a while. Since the oasis was not very far back from the
market at all and we werent sure how long it would be before we found
another one, Ebele and I decided to go back and spend the night there. It was
beginning to cool down as the sun went down so the three of us huddled
together on the sand looking up at the sky. Eventually, Bongani fell asleep. I
thought Ebele was asleep until I noticed that she was staring at the moons
reflection on the water. I knew she was remembering our parents the way

she saw them. I looked at the stars remembering the way their eyes twinkled.
I missed them so much. Ebele and I both drifted off to sleep at some point
only to soon be awakened by the horrible sound of whispering and shuffling
feet. I took off towards the camels noticing that Ebele had already beat me
to it. I couldnt believe it. Everything we had traded the night before plus what
we had already owned, was either destroyed, or gone. It was heartbreaking
just to look at the mess. We were left with nothing but a few loose beads. I
have to go now...
-Nia
Entry 3 Ella (Ebele):
Dear journal
January 5, 1840 B.C.E Ghat, Africa,
Last night was the worst night I had ever had, besides when my parents abandoned
Nia and I. After we got robbed, Nia and I spent the rest of the night cleaning up the
mess and going back to the trade market with the little gold we had left. We were
able to get some food but not enough to make it to Mecca, Arabia. I saw fear in
Bonganis eyes. His gold and supplies also got destroyed. I felt bad for him. After
hours of being pessimistic, I decided to man up and finish what we started. When I
told Nia the story, she was thrilled. I came to my senses and was ready to go. About
3 months passed before we made it to Zawila. We found an oasis nearby for water
for ourselves, and our camels and ended up spending the night there. The next night,
Nia and I decided to start traveling to Cairo. It was a long journey that took about a
half a year. A few months before we arrived, we found another oasis between Zawila
and Cairo and spent the night there. After that, we headed to our final destination,
Mecca!
-Ebele

Entry 3
January 5, 1840 B.C.E Ghat, Africa
Dear Journal,
All I can say is that last night really sucked. It was for sure one of the
worst nights I have ever gone through. The worst part was, that being stuck in
the middle of the desert made losing all of our food and almost all of our gold
a whole lot worse. Unfortunately, it wasnt just our stuff that got taken. Bongai
got all of his stuff taken as well. I felt so sorry for him. Being stuck with 2
strangers was bad enough, but then having all of your stuff taken, and getting
stuck in quicksand did not make traveling with us any more fun. This was
definitely not a trip he was going to want to remember. Not long after we had
realized we had been robbed, Ebele and I decided we had nothing better to do
than to search the sand looking foR ANYTHING they might have left behind or
missed. We let Bongai sleep while we did this because we both thought it was
the right thing to do after everything he had gone through in the past few
days. After about half an hour of searching, we finally came across a tiny
amount of gold that they had left behind. Just enough to restock everything we
had lost. We went back to the trade market and spent almost all the gold we
had found for to buy restock our food supply. Morning eventually came, and
just before I was about to suggest where to head next, Ebele spoke up and
declared we would be going to Zawila. I was okay with anything at this point as
long as it meant we would be any closer to our parents. We boarded our
camels and traveled what felt like the longest 3 months I had ever gone
through before finally reaching Zawila. There was an oasis nearby where we
restocked our water cans, ourselves, and our camels. It was sunset at that
point and we figured we might as well spend the night there. The next day, we
continued our journey this time aiming for Cairo. This journey took much longer
than the journey to Zawila. This one took a little over half a year! A little
before arriving in Cairo, we discovered another oasis and spent the night
there. After that night, we finally continued our journey to arrive at our final
destination. Mecca! I am so excited! Ebele is calling me... I have to go...Bye!!

-Nia

Entry 4
October 15, 1841 B.C.E Mecca, Arabia
Dear journal,
Today is the day!! Yesterday we arrived in Mecca, Arabia and today we will search
for our parents. But before we do, we need to use the rest our our money to buy some
more food. At the trade market I traded some gold for dried fruit and perfume. ALso
I met very nice Muslims that taught me about their religion. Since I might be here for
the rest of my life, I want to fit in and be apart of Mecca. I now pray five times a
day like every other person in Mecca. Anaya told Nia and I that our parents are not
indeed dead but are living a happy life in a house near the Kabah. The only things I
remember about my parents are there names which are Dayo and Femi and small
memories. Our first stop was a small house that was the closest to the Kabah. We
kept going to each house near the Kabah until we got to the last one. I was nervous
that they wouldnt be there but also excited if they were there. We knocked on the
door. THe door opened and my eyes widened with excitement. I recognized the faces. I
couldnt hold in my tears for any longer. I bawled my eyes out. Nia had a scared
look on her face as she said the words Are you Dayo and Femi they answered
Ummm.Yes Who are you? Nia and I were so excited but our parents looked so
confused. Nia saw there confusion and said, My name is Nia and this is my sister,
Ebele, we believe we are your daughters Right after she said that both of our parents
started crying and hugged us and asking us a bunch of questions. We are home. The
next day Nia and I visited the Kabah with our parents. We prayed that our family
will come together in peace. AFter we got back our parents apologized for leaving us
and that they really did leave for a business trip, they just got so attached to Mecca,
that they stayed . I am glad Im home.

Entry 4
October 15, 1841 B.C.E Mecca, Arabia
Dear Journal,
Finally!!! Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Mecca, Arabia. I was so excited
because today we were going to find our parents!!! Long before Anaya
passed, she had once told us that our parents were not dead, they were
actually staying in a little house near the Kaaba. I wanted to get there as soon
as possible, but Ebele suggested we stop at one last trade market before we
got there. I agreed again, because I knew we were once again low on food
and needed more. We spent the remaining amount of gold that we had found
after the robbery to buy the food. We continued through Mecca making many
stops along the way just to explore, even though we would have the rest of
our lives to do this if we successfully found our parents. At one place, we
actually got stopped by very kind Muslims who taught us about their religion.
Ebele and I decided that we would officially become a Muslim and pray five
times a day just like every other Muslim in Mecca, after all, we would probably
be spending the rest of our life here, so we might as well fit in with them.
Unfortunately, all we could remember about our parents were their names,
Dayo and Femi and a few minor memories. We had finally gotten to the
neighborhood surrounding the Kaaba. Ebele decided the easiest way to find
our parents would be to just knock on every door until one was our parents.
We did just that. I think we went up to about 7 different houses repeating the
same thing over and over again. Does a Dayo and Femi live here by any
chance?. We heard the same response just as many times until this one
house. We walked up to the porch crossing our fingers that this would be the
one. It was a beautiful house, with bright colors everywhere, very different
from the rest of Mecca. I thought it seemed a lot like somewhere our parents
would live. We took a deep breath. Hi, are you Dayo and Femi? I asked
nervously. Ummm..Yes..Who are you? they replied a little confused. I could
tell so I replied, My name is Nia and this is my sister Ebele, I believe we are
your daughters. Immediately, our parents started crying and hugging us and

asking us tons of questions. We had found them. That day had officially
become the best day of our lives. That night, we answered about a million
questions. I was able to answer all of them, but each one made me happier. I
just couldnt believe that after 21 years, We had finally found our parents. We
finally had a normal life and family again. The next day, was our first day as
a whole family. Because we were all officially Muslims now, we visited the
Kabaa. I prayed that our family would stick together and that we could live in
peace. I also prayed that I would never have to say the word family or home
again and feel something wrong. I liked being able to say those words now and
feel like they actually mean something. That they are a part of me now. I am
finally Home.