The Range Rover was an official vehicle of the Botswana government, and had felt more than its share of shimmering waves of heat, broken by the occasional cloudburst or rondo of dust. The bright chrome “RANGE ROVER” letters on the tailgate had grown broken and pitted; letters and parts of letters had been shorn away, leaving the proud veteran labeled a “HANG OVER.”

Karibu noted this with some bemusement as the vehicle pulled up to the Francistown hostel where she’d crashed. After all, if it hadn’t been for last night’s revelry at Tsepo’s Bar and Grill, she never would have met the British survey crew that had agreed to give her a lift into the African sandveld.

Their leader, a wiry man named Nigel, threw Karibu’s faded knapsack in the expedition’s trailer and seated her in the Rover’s cabin between two members of his crew. The air reeked of sweat and old cigarette smoke.

The Rover had been bouncing along for twenty minutes, the concrete Francistown giving way to brown grass and acacia, when Nigel turned to Karibu and offered up a toothy smile. “Apologies, love,” he said, “but my boys didn’t give me your name when they told me we’d be giving you a lift to Shinamba.”