To read from the start go to https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/
On Monday it was Beth’s turn to spend the day at Ousman’s place. Her father left her at the front door on his way to work and when Beth nervously rang the doorbell Mamadou was the first to open it. Beth seemed shy. She struggled to explain to Mamadou who she was and what she was doing there. Fortunately Ousman was up and soon came to rescue Beth. He took her to the kitchen to make her a cup of peppermint tea.
Binta was sitting in the kitchen writing a list when the phone rang. Binta answered the phone and as she listened to the person on the other end Mamadou noticed that her expression become worried.
“I have to go to work afterall” announced Binta after she’d hung up the phone.
Binta had told Mamadou that she had a week of holiday and was going to be looking after Ousman while Mamadou started helping Rose and Festus with the renovations. When Mamadou was more settled into helping with the renovations Binta would go back to work and Mamadou would have to take Ousman with him for the rest of the school holidays. Binta thought this was only fair – it wasn’t as if Mamadou was being paid to help Rose and Festus. Besides, it was possible that Ousman might even be a bit helpful. But now the plan had changed and Binta couldn’t take a week off.
Mamadou was a bit annoyed but then he noticed that it looked like Binta was going to cry and realized how disappointed she was that she couldn’t have a break from work.
“No worries” said Mamadou, trying to sound like a local.
Beth looked frightened when she heard about the change of plan. She’d been imagining that she and Ousman would spend a lazy day doing puzzles and playing chess. She didn’t want to go to Rose’s place with Mamadou because she didn’t know Rose or Mamadou and had no idea what it would be like.
Beth watched as Mamadou took a handful of fruit and nut mix from a glass jar and put them into his pocket. It comforted Mamadou to take a snack with him like that because it reminded him of when he was a boy and his Mum had put peanuts into his pocket before she sent him out to go shopping. Then Mamadou filled three water bottles and put them into a bag.
“Let’s go” said Mamadou to Beth and Ousman and so Beth followed Ousman and Mamadou out the front door and up the street. The trio was about halfway to Rose’s house when a galah flew down and landed on the fence next to the footpath. Ousman stopped and looked at the galah, then smiled and said ‘hello’ to it. Beth thought this was a bit strange but the galah seemed to think it was perfectly normal and it hopped onto Ousman’s shoulder. Mamadou remembered the fruit and nuts mix in his pocket so he took out some sunflower seeds and put them in Ousman’s hand. Ousman held his hand out like a plate for the galah and the galah ate the seeds thoughfully.
While the galah was still eating, a man came out of his front gate. When he noticed the galah he walked over, told them his name was Stan, and said to the galah “Back again are you?”. Then Stan told Ousman, Beth and Mamadou how the galah had turned up in his backyard a week ago. “I thought she was a pet who’d escaped so I took her to the vet, but all the vet could tell me was that she was a female and because she has no microchip or leg-bands she could be wild. So I took her to the park and let her go.”
Mamadou looked at Ousman, who was looking lovingly at the galah as it sat on his forearm. Mamadou could tell that it was going to be hard to separate the two. Beth seemed to like the galah too, but was a bit scared. “Will it bite me if I try to pat it?” she asked Stan.
“She likes tickles on her neck better” said Stan.
The galah seemed to have understood what Stan was saying because she tilted her head to one side and fluffed up her neck feathers. Stan showed Beth how to tickle the galah and then Beth had a go.
“You should keep her” Stan said to Ousman and Beth.
Mamadou suspected that Stan just wanted someone else to take responsibility for the galah but was pleased when Ousman asked him “Can I keep her?”
“What will your Mum think about that?” Mamadou asked Ousman.
“If she won’t let Ousman keep the galah, I will take it” said Beth.
The galah looked at everyone like she found them amusing, but kept sitting on Ousman’s arm.
Stan wished them luck and they continued their journey to Rose’s place. As they walked they discussed names for the galah.
Zikpi had been at Rose’s place for half an hour. She’d been instructing Rose and Festus on how they had to try to ignore the film crew – to not look at the camera or microphone and to only acknowledge her when she had told them she was going to be in the shot. When Zikpi went out the front to help the film crew unpack the van she saw Mamadou and the kids (and the galah) approaching.
“Quick” said Zikpi “Get a shot of them arriving”
When Rose opened the door to Mamadou she was surprised to see he had an entourage with him. She assumed that the galah belonged to the shy girl and wondered who she was but thought it might be rude to ask and she could see she was being filmed so she just invited them all in.
Festus was sitting at the kitchen table with a teapot, milk jug and three cups in front of him. When everyone walked in he asked “Who have we got here?”
Mamadou explained that Beth was Ousman’s friend who was staying with them that day and that the galah had made friends with them on the way.
“I’m going to keep her and call her Aminata” said Ousman.
Rose tried to picture what Binta’s face would look like when she came home from work and saw a galah sitting on Ousman’s shoulder. “You will have to tidy up whenever Aminata makes a mess” she told Ousman.
Then Rose got two more cups out of the cupboard and Festus poured everyone a cup of tea while Rose explained the work plan for the day. They were going to start by demolishing the garage. It had corrugated iron walls and a tiled roof on a wooden frame. The iron and tiles were in pretty good condition but some of the wooden frame had started to rot. At Mamadou’s insistence they were to take care when they demolished it so as many materials as possible could be reused. By this time all the tea cups were empty so it was time to go outside and get started.
“Did you get all that?” Zikpi asked the film crew. She had started to think that this renovation would be the most interesting one she’d filmed.
“What are you two, sorry, three going to do? Do you want me to tell you how you can help or would you rather entertain yourselves?” said Rose to Ousman, Beth and Aminata.
“Help, if we can, don’t you think?” said Beth, looking at Ousman to see if he agreed.
“Yep” said Ousman.
“Ok. You kids can take these wrenches and start taking the sheets of metal off this wall – make sure you put gloves on first though” instructed Rose as she pointed to the garage wall that faced the house. Then Rose and Mamadou started moving the pieces of scaffolding that had been dropped off in the driveway by one of Festus’ friends. While this was happening Festus sat on a chair and watched. He thought it wasn’t really necessary to put up scaffolding just to remove the tiles from the garage roof, but Rose had insisted. She didn’t want any more injuries to happen during the renovation.
Ousman thought he and Beth looked funny in their giant gloves as they struggled clumsily with the wrenches. At first they didn’t even know which way to turn the screws to loosen them but Festus was able to give them instructions. Soon they were moving quite quickly and began to have races to see who could undo a row of screws the fastest. Aminata made herself useful by picking up any screws that were dropped on the ground and putting them in a pile under Festus’s chair