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A heart moving and inspirational story about Anna and Senteza, whose lives are marked by the will to live, the courage to survive and the power to love
Two days away to the wedding of Senteza and Anna,a very beautiful American girl who has made him see the light, Senteza is faced by a group of clansmen and elders. Having paid the price of sweat, tears and blood
to restore the Immu Kingdom after a decade of abolition, they want Senteza to succeed his late father king Senteza II.
Anna is aware that if her lover becomes a king, he must marry a tribemate. She's waiting for him to do so and she kills herself.
Through the eyes of elder Mbidde Dwa-dwa, his son Mbidde Dwa expresses the bond of culture, the strength of rituals and contradiction between Western and African
cultures. A heart moving and inspirational story about Anna and Senteza, whose lives are marked by the will to live, the courage to survive and the power to love
The next day was Tuesday. Anna had woken up late. She walked around to look for Senteza. She finally found him at the backside of the house next to the kraal. Anna smiled amused. She had never seen a person milking. Now this was like a movie. Senteza had loosely tied the hind legs of a cow. The poor cow was fooled by putting banana peelings in front of its mouth. It was chewing forever. He brought a calf and had it suck the mother’s udder briefly. It was taken back and locked in the paddock. He squatted behind the cow. Gently he pulled the udder. White milk sprouted falling into a pail. He would pull one with his left hand while the right hand releases. Anna enjoyed the exercise.
“Come and try. You pull this. You release this.” He demonstrated. She tried but milk was not coming; only drops of it. She continued trying and finally picked up.
It was her fourth encounter with this girl. She vividly recalled where she had seen her and the subsequent time. She resented the way her feet moved. She took a step back and stood to examine the girl more observantly. She would be aged about thirteen. She was looking at the wall in front her without blinking – the kind of looking that reveals that she was deeply hurt or lost in wild thoughts. The barefooted poor girl was seated on the verandah in a corridor and barely saw Anna coming. Anna recalled the first time she bought cooked corn from her. The girl had told her that she was an orphan living with a cousin. ‘I’m going to study and become a lawyer.’ She had told her. She spoke good English. Amala… Amola, Ah… Anna tried to recall her name. She wanted to call her but only murmured inaudibly. She was not sure whether she had rightly recalled the name. Anna feared to approach people in the absence of Senteza. She decided to walk away. She did not go far before her feet failed her. She turned the second time and walked back to where the girl was. The poor girl had broken into crying.
“Amala?” She called as she walked towards her. There was no one else, but an open door of small room. The houses that encircled the small house were all locked.
“It’s okay. It’s me...” she said.
She had stood up when she saw Anna advancing towards her. She was afraid.
“What is wrong, dear?”
She cried all the more. The stain of blood from where she was seated did not escape Anna’s notice. Cautious not to stare, she had also observed the blood marks on the girl’s tattered dirty dress.
“Is this were you stay?”
She nodded yes. Again Anna studied the environment.
“Do you need sweets, chocolates, food?”
She did not answer. She sneezed loudly. With bloodshot eyes, her face looked older than when Anna first saw her. She walked nearer, touched her shoulder and pressed the girl’s head on her chest. The crying slowly died but she continued sobbing and shaking.
“Can you come with me?” Anna asked her.
“He is there coming. Go. Go away.” She said pulling herself from Anna.
Anna turned to find a tall snappy-looking dark-skinned man behind her. His red shirt flowed over his faded black trousers. Baldheaded, the man’s big ravaging eyes now locked with hers as they questioningly regarded each other. He rubbed his shoulder against Anna’s as he entered the small room. The girl entered too. Then she heard loud harsh voices, slapping and screams emanating from the room. Anna felt outrageous anguish. Had it not been for the voice, ‘This is not America, where even animals have rights’ she would have entered that room to save that poor girl. She left the place feeling mad. Her programmes for the day had now changed and all she wanted was to find Senteza.
The following Wednesday, Anna headed for the market all by herself; moving towards the place where she had first met Amala. Walking around the stalls, she silently prayed hoping Amala would show up. Thirty minutes later, still no Amala. Anna did not want to be in the market. Being white she attracted great attention. Which trader would not want to sell something to her? Everyone was now calling her. Those who sold nothing begged money from her. She espied a gathering at a distance and found herself drifting there. There were screams and yells. She pushed through the crowd; curious about what everyone was struggling to see. Down on the ground was a tiny man lying on nails and no nail penetrated the skin of his back. The tiny man stood up. He lit a cloth tied on a wooden handle. People yelled as he put the burning fire inside his pants. Afterwards he put the fire on his head. She pulled herself out of the crowd. She had known the tricks the magician was using. Face to face, she collided with Amala. The girl was carrying a big pail containing boiled corn.
“Amala, don’t fear. I have been waiting for you.”
Anna managed to calm her down convincing her that she was harmless. Anna led Amala to BB Restaurant. The barefooted girl wore the same old tattered dress, which had since been washed of all the blood marks. Anna paused to let her eat and drink. She herself only sipped at soda. Amala stood to leave thereafter. “I have to go and sell this maize or he will kill me.” She humbly explained.
“How much is it all?”
“Here’s the money. Sit and let’s talk. You will now give away that corn for free.” A mountain surprised, Amala received the bank notes and sat down to listen.
“Make me your best friend.” She began. “Your cousin has sex with you, am I lying?” Amala looked down. “I wanna help. I wanna arrest and put him in jail. Will you tell police the truth?”
Amala sobbed. “No, he promised to slaughter me like a rabbit if I ever tell anyone.”
“Do you like what he’s doing to you?”
“No.” She cried.
“Would you be happy if he does the same thing to your friend?”
“No, it’s so painful.”
“Then tell the Police the truth.” Anna hardened her voice.
“He will kill me. He refused me to talk to strangers. Not even you.” Amala stood up, picked her pail and hurried away sobbing. She had seen a friend of her cousin’s placing an order.
Anna scribbled in her diary. Achieving justice has a price. But it’s hard when the victim him/herself cannot and doesn’t support the one willing to pay a price for his/her justice...She was still in the same place writing when Amala returned. She did not have the pail. She looked more courageous now.
“Today, I have decided. I know this night he may kill me. His friend saw us talking yet he had warned me. He said he would kill me if I ever talked to you again.”
“Will you do whatever I tell you?”
“I don’t know, but I will tell everything to the Police.” Anna hugged her. She took her out for shopping then they headed for the Police post.
ANNA watched the children hop, jump and others skip a rope. A spirit of motherhood somewhat enveloped her. It was as if she was watching her children. Life here seemed totally different from life back at home in America. Hippe amused her in so many ways. He was crafty and quick in his decisions. Hippe was a few inches taller than his sister, Mayimunna. If you judged a book by its cover, you would not tell the real him. Being small bodied and short, he looked to be the weakest among all the children, yet he was a most brave, sound and strong boy. His brown skin, long tiny face with small burning eyes gave him a funny look. He loved to argue, teach and defend. He would never lose. They had put an empty plastic bottle in the center of the compound. Matia closed his eyes and counted one, two… All the rest ran away and hid themselves. When he reached ten, he opened his eyes. No one was in his sight. The search began. Whenever Matia discovers one, he runs so fast, and then hits on the bottle using a stick. If the person he has seen overruns him and kicks the bottle away. He gets another chance to hide again before the bottle is brought back in its position. Matia succeeded in discovering them and out-running them. All the twenty children were discovered and dropped out of the game. Only Hippe had not been found. He was their hero and hope. If he succeeded in kicking the bottle, he would put them back into the game. Matia searched as they yelled. All of a sudden the yelling rose at its peak. Hippe was seen. He had to run so fast to kick the bottle. Matia was also running at his best.
“Yee!!” they shouted and instantly each scattered to hide before Matia put the bottle back the where it belonged.
Anna loved the game. It refreshed her and reminded her of her own childhood. Hippe was their hero even in the next two rounds. Hippe could speak some broken English. Anna learnt that he used to study from Kampala before his father died. He would never leave school without proudly telling his playmates that he will one day become a pilot. “I will drive helicopters–even army planes.” He would shout. Most of his games were related to aero planes and the army.