02-55 Planning

 


African Music Summer Lounge


The night fog dissipates, swirling around the trees, its thin tendrils lifting like fingers trying to reach the sky. The roofs of the Uchawi village houses are dark shadows against the slight pink sky, and a few minutes later the sun rises over the horizon bringing the relative freshness of the night to an end. The last hoot of an owl is chased by the trill of awakening birds, and the unpleasant screeching of small green parrots mark the beginning of the day.

Sheep and goats are bleating, waiting to be let out or milked or whatever you do with goats. Derek is lying in bed, impatiently waiting for the Madi household to go about their daily business. For the last days, he has slept, eaten without tasting the food, then slept again. Seeing the waning gibbous, the realization had hit him with the force of a train. Dizzy, he had stumbled back to bed, leaving Chiku’s worried questions unanswered. This was bad. Really bad. If he wasn’t a werewolf anymore, how could he hope to escape? One thing was sure. He would not be able to get anywhere in the feeble state he was in. So, he would have to heal just like any normal person – doing what grandma Vargas had always said when he was little – “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Gaah, he must be losing his mind and not only his supernatural strength. He has never seen his grandmother. It must have been Mrs. Brown who- What the hell? Who?

Chiku was the one who brought him food and sat with him while he ate, making sure he didn’t leave any. Feeling sorry for the little girl, he had forced himself to finish the strange food, liking the warm flat bread, but the whitish stuff called fufu not so much. As long as it made him get his strength back…

Each day, it gets a little easier to stand up, and the first time he can walk out onto the landing without desperately holding onto the walls feels like a victory.

He waits until he can hear Elewisa leave with his father. Then the stretches. He has been resting enough. Today he will get up and not only out onto the porch, but down into the garden and get himself thoroughly cleaned up. He has heard water splashing often enough, accompanied by the laughter of the children washing, so there must be a shower. He’ll just have to wait a little while for the women to get about their usual chores in the backyard.

When the familiar, rhythmic thumping of wooden pestles begin, he sits up. The women are pounding fufu. It will give him the time needed to wash up on his own.

He holds on to the ramp while walking down the uneven steps to the little garden. It feels good to be outdoors, even though the ground is still wet and mud seeps up between his toes. The washing system is not far, right behind one of the family huts, but it is rather rudimentary, and while Derek tries to find out how the simple contraption works, the family dog whimpers and gets on his hindlegs to try to see into the bucket.

Poor dog must be thirsty, Derek thinks and pushes him away, gently but firmly. The dog’s name is unpronounceable, so Derek just calls it Mutt. He tries to shoo the dog away, but it is so eager to drink it almost makes the bucket fall to the ground.

‘You’ll have some as soon as I figure out how to turn this thing on,’ Derek mutters, stabilizing the bucket with one hand and holding off the dog with the other.

It is not the shower he had hoped for, just a zinc bucket and a system collecting rainwater suspended over it. It looks so rickety he is afraid to pull too hard on the lever or the whole system might come crashing down.

It doesn’t though, and the water seeping from it is refreshingly cool. He fills the bucket enough for the dog and then drinks directly from the tap.

How come he had never appreciated water before? He drinks until his stomach hurts, then he rinses out the bucket and fills it again. Stripping down, he uses a brown, uneven block of soap to work up a lather, then rinsing it off, holding the bucket over his head. He starts over again, splashing water at the dog, laughing as it yapping dodges away.

’Mama katika sharia, kuja haraka! Come quick!’ Kesi’s shrill voice almost makes him jump out of his skin.

‘Go away! Err… Kwenda mbali!’ He gestures for her to leave, frantically trying to pull his boxers back on. He jumps from one leg to the other, sliding on the slippery ground and finally crashes into the mud on his back. Humiliating, but at least he got his underwear back on.

Kesi has not moved from the porch. She is covering her face with both hands but is looking through her fingers and she continues hollering until her mother-in-law shows up, preceded by a gaping Chiku.

Follows a rapid, loud discussion between the two women resulting in Kesi turning on her heels, disapprovingly clicking her tongue.

The bandage around his waist is soaked in water and mud, but his wound does not hurt as much as he would have expected. He fingers it tentatively, expecting to see the cloth getting tainted in red.

‘It is time.’ Jina’s solemn voice makes him startle.

‘Huh? Time for what?’

Chiku giggles. ‘You are mtu wa matope!’

Derek looks questioningly at the laughing little girl, feeling stupid.

‘Mad man,’ Jina translates.

’Nonono – hapana, Nyanya. Mzungu is mud, not mad.’ Chiku giggles even harder. ‘But maybe Mzungu is mad to first wash and then roll in mud.

It is maybe a kingeresa habit? Mudbath? A ceremony?’ Jina chuckles.

I think he is just very clumsy, nyanya,’ Chiku says seriously.

Jina snorts. ‘You take off-’ She gestures to his bandage. ‘I will see if healed.’

He starts unravelling the dirty bandage, happy to get it off, but also imagining his intestines fall out without the pressure of the cloth. He hands it to Jina, afraid to look down.

Chiku stares wide-eyed at the wound. ‘Is all good, Mzungu Derk,’ she says. ‘No more blood.’

Derek glances down. A large reddish line with dots on each side is all that is left of the gaping wound that had been stitched twice. Jina reaches out and pokes, making him wince and shy away.

‘Hmm. No more bandage. Be careful. And wash, you are chafu mud man. Chafu – dirty – no good for wound. Infeection.’

With that she leaves, grabbing a reluctant Chiku and steering her away. He waits for them to disappear before starting to scrub off the mud. He leaves his underwear on this time.

﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾

Now that Derek is up and about, Jina has decided he should have his hair styled Uchawi fashion. Elewisa has already had his hair cut, and now his father is getting the exact same treatment. Derek’s hair is far from curly, even though it is quite thick, but he is not sure a half-inch short hair will really look good on him. He does not trust Kesi anyway. She’ll probably make his hair look stupid.

Uko kimya sana – you are very silent?’ Hami looks inquiringly at the young man who is patiently waiting for his turn, leaning against the doorjamb.

‘Yeah, I’m not sure this is a good idea, that’s all.’

‘You not worry, mzungu. Kesi is very good with err… wembe.’ Hami chuckles, but Derek doesn’t think he looks that zen about his wife going over his already short hair with a razor.

I will not cut imimoya emibi’s hair. It looks like a bush. With no leaves,’ she adds, glaring at Derek.

Stop calling him imimoya emibi.’

‘People are talking.’

‘Let them talk.’

‘Maybe you have been bewitched by an umthakathi and cannot see he is Kishi, the twofaced man. One night fisi, the hyena, will appear and eat us all.’

‘Kishi? Wacha hizo – come on? So you think he is handsome?’

‘Hapana! No! He is uglyfaced. But I can see the hyena in him. He will do us all harm.’

‘He lives under my roof, and he has shown no sign of malice.

Not yet. Wait for the rain, Anansi will liberate all sorts of evil.

Mother said mzungu would have shown his evil side already. She expelled the evil spirits from his body.

Kesi snorts. ‘Mother says this and mother says that. Why don’t you listen to me? I am a mother, too. I even have more children than she has ever had.

Mother is isangoma, and that is more than you shall ever be.

Kesi snorts again but knows better than to push her husband further. As far as she is concerned, her mother-in-law might even be the dreadful umthakathi who has bewitched her husband. She cannot wait for the old woman to return to her ancestors. Then she, Kesi, will be head of the household, after Hami, of course. But Chiku will probably do her best to make her life impossible, what with Jina putting ideas into the girl’s head, making her believe she will be the next High Priestess. As if ever.

Her hand trembles and she cuts Hami just behind his ear.

Careful, woman!

Na radhi – I’m sorry.’ She dabs at the small wound with a cloth. Just a few years more and Chiku will be married to one of the boys in the village, having her own mother-in-law to worry about.

Derek decides he will keep his hair the way it is for now. He understands a word here and there, knowing they are talking about him. Kesi is more than annoying, always complaining. He can’t get his head around her.

‘I shall go for a walk,’ he blurts out.

‘No cut hair?’

‘No. Not today. Maybe next time.’

What did he say?

He will go for a walk.

Tell him to put on clothes. People will talk.

Hami chuckles. Derek is wearing one of his shorts, they are a little too big and hang low on his hips. His wife is right. People will talk.

‘Get dressed, mzungu. And come back for lunch – fish stew and-’

‘-and fufu?’

Ndiyo. Fresh fufu, Chiku is pounding alone.’

‘Yeah. Sounds good…’ He grimaces. Poor girl is working every day, while Elewisa is playing with his friends.

He walks back to his room and pulls on his jeans, or what is left of them, and a t-shirt. He’ll just get some water from the well in the backyard first.

The backyard is unusually quiet without Kesi bossing her daughter around. Chiku has washed the dishes and the plates are drying on a towel in the sun, getting disinfected by the heat, but there is no sign of the little girl. Hami went fishing last night with the villagers and has brought back the family’s share of the catch. Three giant tiger fish are hanging on a line, attracting fleas and the frenzied buzzing is the only sound breaking the silence. He wonders where Chiku and Jina could be.

A huge pot filled what looks like stew is slowly cooking over an open fire on the ground. It smells heavenly, but when he approaches, he can see rudimentary chunks of fish simmering in the thick sauce, heads and fins included. Thin scales are covering the surface. There are still a couple of smaller fish lying on a plate with a bloody knife next to them.

There is no way he could eat that fish stew for lunch. The mushy food served in the Madi household had been OK as long as he needed to get his strength back, but he is in desperate need of something grilled or fried. He checks for something he could use as a frying pan and finds a rather flat steel bowl. He takes one of the smaller fish, guts it and puts it in the pan, adding some oil. He will fry it like his mother used to. Maybe Kesi will warm up to him if she realizes he can help her cook.

The clay oven is already heated, and he puts the pan on the burning hot stone surface. He can’t wait to eat something that has not stewed with a ton of spice. He would kill for some mashed potatoes, too, or even better – fries. Fufu is not bad, but you have to get used to it. And every day? Nah… Where are the sweet potatoes he saw Chiku pick earlier? He lifts the lids of a couple of baskets but has to stop searching to turn the fish in the pan. It looks good. A couple of minutes more and it is-

Eek! Mama katika sharia! Kuja haraka – come quick!

Derek turns around and faces a furious Kesi. Maybe she is not ready to let him help her after all.

Jina comes running, her arms full of bizarre roots. She stops and stares at them.

‘What you do in err… food?’

I found him trying to sabotage my baking,’ Kesi says in Buntu. ‘Look at him – he has totally made it impossible to bake bread! The surface is all greasy, and smelly. The bread will taste fish!

He should not be here, that is true.’ She shakes her head, carefully putting down the bizarre roots. ‘This is no place for mtu – man,’ she adds in English to Derek, curiously eyeing the frying fish.

Kumpeleka mbali – send him away! This is my house, my oven!

Ndiyo, ndiyo, binti katika sharia*. He will leave.

*daughter in law

Hami has heard the commotion and comes rushing. He stops at a respectful distance. This is women’s territory, mzungo should have known better. His mother and wife are discussing heatedly, gesticulating wildly. Kesi is pointing towards the oven.

Tell him he has ruined it- imimoya emibi. There will be no bread today. We will all go hungry, and it is mzungu’s fault.

Why will we go hungry? I brought fish this morning…’ Hami tries but is ignored.

Poor Derek scratches his head, looking confused. He takes a step backwards, looking at Hami for assistance. He must teach the young man the rules of the house, and it seems to be the right moment for some male bonding.

‘Look! Nyuki! Bees. I shall take mzungu with me into the jungle, mwituni, to hunt for honey.’

Both women stop in midsentence. ‘Nyuki? Where?

Hami gestures vaguely behind him. ‘Kunyamaza, be quiet and fix food to bring with us. Njoo nami, mzungu. Come with me. We shall bring sweet honey to our women.’

Derek is happy to get away. He throws a last longing glance at his fried fish, that Kesi is holding up between her thumb and forefinger, a disgusted look on her face.

‘Shouldn’t we call for Elewisa and Chiku?’ Derek asks, as he helps Hami load a large, square, tightly woven container used to transport the honeycombs, with rope and torches made of bamboo, dry fronds, and fibers from banana plants.

Hapana. Hunting for honey is too dangerous for children. Bee not happy.’ He mimes a buzzing sound and stabs himself with his finger on the arm several times.

‘Oh. Killer bees, huh?’

Ndiyo, mzungu. Killahbee.’

﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾†﴿﴾

Aouch!

Kaa bado – if you stay still, it won’t hurt.

But I am perfectly still, Nyanya.

Do not answer back, mtoto. You wanted to change your hair, now, do not complain.

Don’t call me a child, Nyanya.

You are a child, mjukuu. My grandchild.’ Her grandmother snorts. ‘And you should be happy you still are mtoto.

Why should I? Everybody bosses me around. Even Elewisa, especially when he is with his friends,’ Chiku adds grudgingly.

Because when you kuwa mtu mzima, when you grow up, you will have to marry, and have children, and take care of a household. And-’ she hesitates, ‘-and you will have to go and live with your husband’s family…’ She lets the sentence trail.

Chiku mulls it over. Fighting tears of pain, she tries to hold her head still. She prefers her grandmother to do the braiding even if it hurts, the result will surely be worth it. And she wants Mzungo to think she is pretty. She will marry him when she comes of age. But something her grandmother just said makes her thoughtful.

But… But what if my future husband doesn’t have a family for me to move to?

Everyone in the village has ukoo, a family, mjukuu.

Ndiyo, but what if?

The word “if” is nothing you should worry about, mjukuu. When the time comes, your baba will choose a worthy husband, and he is softhearted enough to listen to your wishes.

Chiku knows she should be grateful. Her father loves her, but she is not sure he will listen to her. Nobody marries a mgeni, especially if he happens to be a mzungu. Her mother still thinks he is an imimoya emibi, and she will never let her daughter bring such shame to the family. No. They will have to run away-

Maybe you should ask Elewisa to take mzungu fishing tomorrow. He seems to like fish. I know your brother is going with his friend Rahdi and his older brother Rafiki. Maybe it would do mzungu good to know people his own age,’ Jina muses, fastening the last braid.

Ndio, nyanya! Can I go too?

Chiku jumps to her feet touching her head. The braids aches, but she knows she will get used to the pulling sensation in a while.

Nzuri – very pretty.’ Jina nods her head approvingly. ‘First, you must help me plant onions and peppers, then we will see if your mother needs you tomorrow.

Chiku’s face falls. Of course, her mother will find some boring, useful tasks for her.

Jina frowns. ‘I might need some water plants to make medicine. Maybe you could pick some for me?

The little girl’s face lights up. ‘Does that mean I can go with Elewisa and mzungu?

Ndiyo, mjukuu. Now help me carry the onions we shall plant.

Chiku loves spending time with her grandmother Jina, especially when they work in the garden. Jina opens up and tells Chiku many stories about healing herbs and fantastic creatures living in the spirit world.

Today Jina is telling Chiku about Anansi, the little girl’s favorite. He is a cunning spider god that tries to steal all the gold and wisdom in the world, but his plans always fail. Today’s story is about how Anansi and cockroach became enemies. Chiku listens wide-eyed, trying to figure out how to stop Anansi’s schemes before Jina has the time to tell her. Chiku usually finds an extravagant way to stop the frightening creature, much to Jina’s mirth. Children can be so resourceful, there are no limits to their imagination.

Derek is sitting on the stairs in the shadow, avoiding the late afternoon sun. The heat and Jina and Chiku’s incomprehensible murmur adds to his drowsiness. His back is against one of the stilts and he is thoughtfully chewing on a straw. He is bored. He has walked around the village several times during the past days, exploring and trying to find a way out of there. People are getting out of his way, mothers usher their children inside and if there were doors, they would surely slam shut as he walks by. As for now, he is advancing to the soft rustling of door curtains.

He has just explored the outer parts of the village, purposefully avoiding the busy center. He knows there is a school and a small shop but does not know much more. He has promised to wait for Chiku to take him there, but he suspects she just wants to show him off. It might be worth it, though, humoring the little girl. She had just asked him if he wanted to go fishing tomorrow, it will be nice. Fishing means access to a lot of water, and he longs for a swim to cool the bee stings down. And to meet some new people will be nice, too.

He closes his eyes and goes through what he has learned about the village.

Each family has several round huts built on stilts and joined together by porches which are covered with complex lattice systems supporting flowers. It brings a relative freshness, smells nice and keeps mosquitoes at bay. Apparently. He is not so sure about the freshness. The days are horribly hot and humid, and the nights are even worse. The clothes always feel damp, like just taken out of a dryer without letting the program finish, and you never feel fresh, because as soon as you’ve washed, you start sweating again. Just scrubbing himself under the arms with a smooth piece of alum is not enough, and if he could, he would shower every two hours. He has slowly learned to economize his movements, walking slower, sitting down when he can – on his heels like the villagers, or on any surface in the shadows – and drinking about four times as much as at home.

He sighs, wondering if he should adventure into the sacred backyard and ask for a cup of fresh water. But Kesi is probably there, and he doesn’t want to run into her if he can avoid it.

He watches a chicken adventure close to the gate. They spend a lot of time in the street, but they always come home when it is getting dark. Funny animals…

Most homes have a fence marking their yards. It is usually a simple stick fence surrounding the backyard, and a low stonewall facing the streets.

He does not have an idea about the layout of the village, though. He must fix a map, draw one himself on a scrap of paper. He should ask Chiku about it, the school must have paper and pens. According to what he has noticed, the Uchawi village is built along a main dirt track that starts out straight, but soon loses itself amongst the clutter of huts. There is no electricity, at least he has not seen any sign of it. The villagers use petrol lamps, or torches, and the nights are pitch black. He has to memorize the laying of the huts if he wants to leave, or he risks walking in circles before even reaching the forest. And after the excursion into the rainforest with Hami in search for honey this morning, he has learned that you don’t haphazardly adventure into the jungle without preparation or you might just never walk out of it again.

They had started out from the back of the family huts, and gone straight into the dense vegetation, following an almost invisible path. They might have walked for about fifty yards, and when he turned around, he could not see the village anymore.

Impressive.

Hami handed him a machete, and together they cut their way through when the underbrush became too dense. They lunched on cooked, but cold, vegetables and ugali, a kind of cornmeal paste, a welcome change from the daily fufu. It served its purpose and descended into Derek’s stomach like a brick, giving him the impression he wouldn’t have to eat for the next week or so.

‘We lucky. Bees no far.’ Hami underlined his words by pointing his index upwards.

Derek put his burden on the ground and shaded his eyes. He could see the oval shape of the hive, hanging low on a branch about forty feet up. It seemed to be moving, thousands of dark bees milling about. Hami was already planting pegs into the ebony tree to create a makeshift ladder to help them climb.

Derek followed Hami up, carrying the container. The buzzing became deafening up close. They stopped, resting on a branch under the hive, where they lit up the torches. The smoke was heavy and thick, making them both cough. But the bees soon became drowsy enough for them to approach. He held the torches, waving them slightly to ward off bees while Hami swiftly cut the honeycombs lose and stocked them in the container. In spite of their precautions, Derek got stung at least a dozen times. He frantically scraped off the stingers as quick as he could while trying not to fall of the branch as the aggressive bees buzzed around his head, emitting a slight smell of bananas.

As soon as they had laid a safe distance between themselves and the remaining bees, Hami stopped and sat down on a fallen trunk. Imitating Hami, he bit right into a piece of dripping honeycomb, marveling at the texture. The honey was worth the pain and the itching. He had never tasted such sweetness before.

There was plenty left to let the children gorge on honeycomb, and they had collected enough honey for the women to tap into small recipients made from dried calabash. Jina explained the valor of the rare product which would come in handy to trade with the neighbors. Kesi had even smiled slightly when he handed her the woven container. But knowing her, it was probably of glee at the sight of the red, swollen stings on his torso and arms. Chiku had helped Jina mass honey onto the stings, and it seemed to work. They don’t itch anymore, are just warm to the touch.

The families seem to be auto sufficient. There are chicken, goats and a few sheep, but no cows or pigs. He believes the tribe is Muslim, that would explain the absence of pigs. But, gee, he hates goat meat. Gnarly, it seems it has to be overcooked to be comestible at all. Usually it simmers in a stew, accompanied by fufu. He has never been much for greenery, but he much prefers pondu, cooked cassava leaves. They have also tried to serve him dried caterpillars with mushrooms. Sure, he has heard insects are a source of proteins, and they tasted OK – as long as he thought about the crisp little things as being shrimps. He hopes there won’t be any on the menu for a while, though. Chiku has told him her favorite is fried plantain bananas, she loves it, and it is soon season. Sweet potatoes are also good. As long as they are not boiled…

The Madis cultivate corn, onions, sweet potatoes, salad and watermelons. Chiku says they trade crops with the neighbors, which seem rather logical. What is interesting is the monthly trade journeys to the Husuni tribe. It was on one of these trips that Hami had found him “falling” out of the sky. Derek cannot understand why there has still not been any rescue party. The Embassy must know that he was on that plane and they should have sent some army search-and-rescue people for him. But maybe they think he is dead. The plane apparently exploded after hitting the ground.

So, it is up to him if he wants to get home again. He has fully understood that the Madi’s are not letting him leave like that. There has been a lot of furtive glances and clearing of throats when he has asked how to get back to “civilization”, and if he has understood his main information source, Chiku, right, there is some terrible secret he must not reveal.

Well, you can’t reveal what you don’t know, can you?

He yawns. Maybe he should give them a hand, planting stuff. The bee stings have made him drowsy, and he’ll fall asleep just sitting here.

He gets on his feet and stretches. He will start with the watermelon plants. They look just about ripe, but are surrounded by weeds… Maybe he could convince Jina to share one.

A few minutes later Elewisa arrives. He stops and stares at Derek on his hands and knees pulling up weeds. Then he says something Derek does not understand.

‘What? Maybe you should help your sister out, planting stuff.’

The little boy just stands there, staring and smiling a little mockingly.

‘Mama say is not man’s work,’ he says in broken English.

‘Does she now?’ Derek mutters. ‘Cooking is not, and helping out in the garden neither? Is there something a man can do apart from risking his life looking for honey?’ He pushes away a nosy hen, glaring over the boy’s shoulder at his mother on the porch.

‘Cut wood maybe?’ Elewisa says wisely, then he adds in Buntu to his sister. ‘Look at me, Chiku! I can climb faster than stupid Asanti!

Kesi is standing on the porch, arms crossed. She is staring down at Derek with an undecipherable look on her face. Probably still grumpy about the fish episode yesterday.

Elewisa has decided to climb up to the porch instead of using the stairs. He pushes away the branches heavy with flowers to gain access behind the doghouse and starts climbing. Suddenly he screams and slides.

Buibui! Buibui! Kusaidia, Mama!

But instead of helping her son, Kesi starts screaming hysterically, immediately joined by Chiku and Jina, repeating the words buibui and kusaida over and over.

Derek does not understand the words, but he immediately sees the giant spider slowly ascending the sloped roof of the doghouse, dangerously close to Elewisa. He grabs a broom and uses it to push the spider to the ground.

‘Kill it,’ Jina says imperiously. ‘Quick!’

Derek hesitates. The spider is almost as big as his foot, and he is only wearing flipflops. It raises its forelegs, making it look even bigger, and emits a hissing sound.

Since when do spiders hiss?

He gives it a go with the broom, but it is too quick and instead of fleeing, it rushes towards his feet. Derek reacts on instinct.

He looks down at his right foot. It is firmly stuck to the ground with the spiders long, hairy legs sticking out on each side, twisting. Derek grinds his foot down harder, wincing at the scrunchy sound.

Elewisa, Kesi, Jina and Chiku are standing around him, also staring at his foot.

Is it alive?

Hapana.

Derek withdraws his foot from the flipflop and bends down. When he lifts the thin rubber sole, the spider sticks to it in a gooey mass. Chiku and Elewisa cheers, jumping around.

Muuaji buibui! Spiderkiller!’

My brother is the strongest!’ Elewisa shouts. ‘He saved my life!

What? Mzungu is not your brother, stupid!

Not yet. But he will be, when baba adopts him.

Suddenly Chiku stops. Her father can’t adopt mzungu. She can’t marry her brother. No, Elewisa must be lying. She looks at her brother, her head slightly bent to the side. ‘See what happens when you make fun of Anansi. He sent spider child to kill you. Next time Anansi himself will come, and he is bigger than kiboko, the hippo.

Jina clicks her tongue at the little girl but does not contradict her. She turns to Derek. ‘That was very brave, mzungu. Thank you-’

She throws a sharp glance at Kesi who mutters a polite ‘Asanti… asanti sana.

‘-but it was very foolish to- to walk on it with foot.’

‘You told me to kill it.’

Ndiya. With this.’ She waves a garden shovel at him. ‘Buibui will not kill you, but bite is very very painful.’

Derek rolls his eyes. Elewisa holds up what remains of the spider, showing him the long, sharp fangs that could easily have bitten through the sole.

Sheesh. He’ll have nightmares tonight.

Part II – End of Chapter 55

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Next Chapter → Coming soon


I would never have succeeded in locating my story in Africa if it wasn’t for

Ziwa Bonde by Nilxis,

the talented world creator who made it possible!

And great thanks, as always, to Bee and all other pose creators who have made the fantastic poses I have used.


 

3 thoughts on “02-55 Planning

  1. My goodness, there is a ton of CC there, but all worth it because you have made the village look so real! In checking out the world, I can see the difference. Well done!

    I have much to catch up on in this story and shouldn’t have read this one now, but I am feeling better tonight and I just wanted to see where this story was currently at! I’ve not read another story like this one and I can see how your time in Africa must have taught you so much.

    Question: Are there hissing spiders there in RL? I think I would like to see that. I feel this story is a balance of a simpler time, but still shows the complexity of a community with all their traditions. And like all communities, the generations want to do more than their parents did. I’m curious to see what kind of young woman Chiku will grow up to be.

    1. I guess I’m a shopaholic when it comes to CC clutter! I’m glad you’ve checked the story out, I feel terrible because I don’t have time to write as much as I would like to. Being a high school teacher is really a full time job…
      To answer your question about the spiders: Yes! They kind of rub their legs together and there’s a hissing sound, a little like a snake. You bet it’s frightening, because these spiders are big. I’ve seen one the size of my hand. I was sitting down to breakfast in the “jungle” and there was mouvement between the table cloth (lots of printed flowers) and the transparent plastic the owner had put over the table cloth to protect it. Hugest spider I heve ever seen. Being allergic to spider bites (operated three times!), I watched them from a distance get it out of there, and it hissed from inside the box they succeeded to get it into…
      I have mixed and merged a lot of traditions and superstitions, all the while trying to keep the story close to what I have experienced. Of, course, the village is supposed to have no contact with the outer world, so not influenced by technology like the Internet. But my housekeeper had the latest Samsung and she still firmly beleived in mermaids because she had seen them on TV…
      I bet Chiku will become a strong isangoma, leading the village. But will Derek still be around? We’ll see…

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