The Gold Mine

Far into one of Africa’s red clay fields, which if measured, won’t be less than the size of 4 to 5 soccer pitches. Jibraan, tries to extract gold, by digging deep into the surface of a gold mining site. The site has long been banned by the village’s local government, due to the spread of various sicknesses, caused by the gold extraction activity itself. Various warnings have been given to the villagers who attempt to dig for gold, but even though, aware of the circumstances, Jibraan’s persistence to continue digging is imperative. He has nothing left anymore; neither does his wife and his 2 children. He wishes to abandon poverty and live a more luxurious life with his family, and set them free from the difficulties of a stringent African village life.

As he digs deeper underneath, seeking inhumanly with great hunger for more and more gold, he hears a voice, the gaggles of villagers from a very far distance. Jibraan, with confidence, is assuming that they are standing right outside the metallic fence surrounding the site, and that they would dare to access it. Surprised the villagers are, to witness a hole dug deep into the site, wondering who could’ve possibly been so brave to break the law. With anger, they started shouting, in their native language, “Anybody down there, please come out right now”, over and over again, but he is consistently refusing to answer, fearing his quest for precious gold, would perish.
After a while of continuous digging, he decides to take a short break. Worn-out from a long day of digging and searching, his eyes, closing and opening in a continuous loop, are eventually going to close. During this moment, he is managing to open his eyes for one last time; instantaneously, he is now observing something horrifying; people burning, in a flaming hot pool of lava made of gold, in the same area which he was digging a while ago. He is noticing himself among those people, sharing the same dolorous fate. A scary site, that is keeping him in a state of, cataplexy. A so called fire torturer is supervising the whole scene, ranting a dialogue over and over again, "Didn’t they warn you not to, DID THEY NOT. You hunted for gold to seek happiness, now taste pain and grief by the very thing you desired". Those words are running through his head, continuously, while witnessing his skins color turning black. Instantaneously, he starts shouting with sorrow "It wouldn't have come to this if we villagers had a job to be able to feed our family". As the lava is on the brink of taking him in completely, Jibraan suddenly sees himself in his house, with his eyes wide open, and heart pounding repetitively, his wife standing at a short distance cooking lunch, while his children playing and laughing. A sudden knock at the door, keeps him wondering who it might be, so he immediately opens the door. A local man is standing at the door, surprisingly he came out to be an infrastructure construction labor recruiter. A great sense of joy is filling his heart, but nevertheless, he wouldn’t want to keep any over expectations, waiting to see what the man has to say. His expectations were right; the man very enthusiastically, was asking him if whether he would like to join the labor workforce, in order to work on a new infrastructure project planned by the government. And that they are looking for dedicated and hardworking laborers who were previously part of the Gold mining activity at a time when the same banned activity was legal. During this conversation, he is now trying very hard to wash his mind of whatever happened earlier, although he is still not sure if what happened earlier was a dream or reality. Ignoring his thoughts, he immediately replies back to the recruiter and agrees to join the workforce.

While walking on his first day of work, on the way he is passing by the Gold mining site, although that got back many bad memories, he is still very eager to know if the hole that he dug is still there, still being so confident that all that digging actually occurred. As his eyes sneaked through the fence he was stunned to see that the site was actually clear. That kept Jibraan wondering, with confusion, if whether he is awake at the moment and in his senses or still dreaming. The important thing is that Jibraan sure learnt his lesson and took the right decision.

Abdulla Abbas