‘Mama. Mama! Open the door, mama. ’
‘My daughter what is it? Why are you not in your house at this hour of the night?’
‘Mama open. I’m pregnant.’
‘I will not open. Go back to your husband and give him the good news, Natanwe.’
‘Mama he beats me. He is not a good husband mama I have tried everything.’
‘I did not raise you like that my child. You are his wife. You listen to everything and do as he says. What will the people say when they find you here in the morning? I will not let them think I did not raise you well.’
A wail pierces the door. Her water is breaking and the baby is coming. She cannot handle the pain. Her mother opens the door, out of pity for her daughter or because she had no other choice, we do not know. She was a trained midwife. She was many things and the villagers respected her. She always held a position of reverence and was always in fear of losing it. The villagers’ adoration was what she entirely thrived on. She brings her into the inner room, fetches hot water and a few clean cloths and draws back the curtains.
A few moments later, a baby cries and a mother weeps tears of joy. It is a moment filled with love, joy, hope and happiness. It is a girl, all that Natanwe had wanted. A girl to live the life she never lived. A girl to go where she never went. She holds her in her arms tightly as though she would be snatched the next minute. And she was, Natanwe’s mother took the baby and looked at her daughter with no emotion that could be traced.
‘Natanwe you must leave. You must leave before dawn.’
‘Mama, why? I am still in pain.’
‘Leave now. You will not embarrass me like this.’
‘Mama what do you think Papa will say when he sees you doing this?’
‘Leave your Papa out of this. His spirit rests, do not wake it.’
The wind blew angrily, wailing as if in war with the dead. It was pouring and the thunder deafening. The walk through the forest to get to the other side was long. The side where there was a tarmac road that goes to the city. That was her only hope, but she had no strength. With tears in her eyes and grief in her heart, she whispered something with her last breath and fell down in a stump.
The rain died down, the thunder cooled down and the wind reduced to a slight cry, as if mourning the immediate loss. She lay there, lifeless. In the far horizon, with its golden streaks, the sun welcomed a new dawn…
The car appeared from the distance, leaving behind a trail of dust. Slowly, it neared the village. It was midday, the sun was scorching and everyone was busy preparing meals. The village of Tambisu was a quiet village. Everyone lived their lives without change, no one bothered or cared about what happened to the outside world, No one but Bwana Kindio.
To be continued…