Completely worn out by the previous day, the girls slept until mid-morning, when the sun, already high in the sky, seared their skin. Other than a few goats, the concession was empty. Next to their mattress sat a covered bowl filled with illiwa porridge. They ate eagerly before heading out to look for their hosts. Hearing a great deal of commotion behind the concession wall, they decided to take a look. Mouheini was particularly eager to find Fada; she still could not explain to herself why she cared so much. She also kept reminding herself of Tahir — they must find water quickly, and begin their journey back home this morning. If they arrived there before evening, he might still have a chance. After all, Sadouan did have a little water remaining when the girls took off on their quest.
When the girls stepped out of the concession, an inexplicable vision stopped them in their tracks. A large metallic tower loomed above numerous people and animals, all lined up near strange metal things out of which flowed clear gushing water. The liquid, its clarity and quantity, looked to them like magical flowing silver. The girls had never seen faucets before, nor a water tower. More importantly, they had never in all their lives seen so much water; and never ever had they seen such happiness-inducing beauty and purity. They had entered water paradise.
Fada spotted the girls, and knowingly observed their giddy expressions of joy; he had experienced the same sense of awe not so long ago, when the borehole was first built. Approaching them, he exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting for you to wake up for hours! Cheikh asked me to fill up your jerry cans, which I did. You are all set to head home, as soon as your donkeys finish drinking. They already ate, and I think they’ll be fit to carry you!”
Even though Fada did not really want them to leave, he was proud to be of help to Mouheini. He felt that she was truly angelic, and was deeply attracted to her combination of innocence and strength. “Cheikh even gave you some additional jerry cans,” he added. “Look!” They peered over to where several jerry cans stood, theirs and others, on the ground, near the foot of the borehole. It all seemed so extraordinary. Mouheini could not take her eyes off the boy. He exuded luminous kindness, which accentuated his handsome features. This type of staring was uncustomary; when she realized that her gaze had been transfixed upon Fada, she regained her composure, and looked away.