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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

AKUMA THE VILLAGE STREAM





 A village is different from the city in the sense that the source of getting water for the city are tap; boreholes and well but in the village it is the stream.
Akuma is a village stream in Ohoazara village. It is strange that is filled with different kinds of fish and is used for sacrifice by the people of Ohoazara. The villagers go there to fetch water to drink and use for the other purposes. The fishes swim around and play in the water but no one must kill the fish because it is forbidden in the land. The fishes come out during the day and go inside during the night. If anyone kills the fish, the person is immediately drowned in the stream. Little children love to play in the stream.
Ohoazara people are known for their palm oil farming. They cultivate palm kernel trees on their land. Most of their lands are used mainly for planting palm kernel trees. They produce palm oil which is their major source of foreign exchange. They are called the people of palm oil. At the beginning of every year, the people of Ohoazara go to sacrifice to Akuma with a lot of item for a better year ahead. And at the time of the sacrifice, the people chant songs of praise for Akuma.

          Akuma…   Akuma…hehe
          Akuma…   Akuma…hehe
          Akuma, the strange stream of our land.
Accept our sacrificial offering make this year a better year a better year for us.
Akuma…   Akuma…

The people will chant in circles around the stream and every sacrificial item is thrown into the stream. No one goes to fetch Akuma at night because it is forbidden.
Obiora is the son of Adaugo. His mother is from that village so that makes Obiora the son of the soil but he was born in the city. He travelled with his mother to the village to visit his grand parent. When Obiora got to the village, he got used to the lifestyle of the village. He loves to play with his age mates in the village. He also loves to go dig cricket holes in order to catch cricket. He loves the village because it is peaceful and quiet. Obiora was twelve. He was so amazed that people could sleep outside at night until the next morning without anything happening to them. Some go to sleep at other people’s compound. In compound where two or more huts are built, mats are laid outside and everyone lie on the mat telling stories until they eventually fell asleep till daybreak.
They love themselves in the village; they were no mosquitoes to bite them so they are not scared to sleep outside. When it comes to food, they are surplus and they eat in one another’s house and live together as one family in Ohoazara village. So all this made Obiora to fall in love with the lifestyle of the village. Sometimes, Obiora plays at the next compound with other children from morning until it is night. He never bothered about food at home because he will eat different kinds of food at the compound. He loves his grandfather for he used to tell him the experience of the olden days.
One evening, his grandfather went to the farm and returned back with a grass cutter that he had caught from the farm. Obiora was scared to touch the grass cutter and his grandfather also scared him with it, chasing him around with it. They make a fire and began to roast the grass cutter.
 “Obiora!” his grandfather called.
“Papa …” he answered.
“You will eat the head of the grass cutter.” His grandfather said and Obiora smiled.
“Papa, how did you catch the grass cutter?”
“I used a trap to catch it. There is a trap called Npoko, it is made of wire and it is set inside the bush to catch bush animals. The trap is set on the road where the animals walk pass and with that the animals are caught.”
“But grandfather, can’t the animals see the trap and run away?”
“No, they can’t because their senses cannot know it is a trap. Their brains are low and sometimes we put food around the trap and they stubbornly go to eat the food and they are caught.”
“Okaaay…” said Obiora as he was convinced and nodded his head.
“In the olden days, anyone who kills a grass cutter is respected and people come around to share from the grass cutter. When I was young I used to come home with different kind of bush meat. There was competition among my age mates of who killed the most Iquata.”
“What is Iquata?” Obiora asked painting a surprise look. His grandfather smiled.
“Iquata is a bush rat,” said his grandfather. Obiora looked understanding and nodded his head.
“So there was competition among my mates. We use to kill bush rat. In the evening, we go to the bush to set our trap and go check it in the morning. We set as many trap as possible in order to catch more bush meat. That is why the villagers never lack bush meat and look fat just like me.” Obiora laughed.
“But are they still doing it now?”
“Yes but it is not as before. There is no time and people are weak,” said his grandfather. Obiora nodded his head.
“Papa, I wished I was born in your time, so I can eat many bush meat and grow fat like you.” His grandfather laughed.
“My son, you are wise but unfortunately you were not born then.”
“That is true.”
“But don’t worry, you will still eat as many bush meat as you want.” Said his grandfather. Obiora smiled and nodded his head. They finished roasting the grass cutter and it was used to prepare soup. Obiora ate the head as promised by his grandfather.
One day, Obiora went to swim with other children of the village in Akuma stream. He was surprised to see fishes sailing and swimming on top of the water even as the children went into the stream yet the fishes did not swam away. Obiora never knew that no one must touch or kill the fish. So he took a stick and hit one of the fish, instantly, the fish died and Akuma drown Obiora. The other children ran away as fast as possible, they became afraid.
They ran to tell Obiora’s grandfather that Akuma had drown Obiora. His grandfather, his grandmother and his mother all ran to the stream. His mother left the porridge she was preparing on fire and it got burnt.
When they got to the stream, they could not found Obiora. Akuma had drowned him. They began to plead Akuma to have pity and bring back their son but Akuma did not listen. They pleaded and pleaded but all pleas went to the deaf ears of Akuma. Obiora’s mother was soaked in tears, she was crying bitterly for her son. Would her traveling to the village to visit her parents become regret to her and cause her to lose her son, she thought. They pleaded and returned back home looking very depressed.
The next day, very early in the morning, they went back to Akuma stream. They took along some fat yams black he-goat, a white cock, some kola nuts and cowries. On getting to the stream, Obiora’s mother fell flat on the ground, crying and began again to beg Akuma. Obiora’s grandfather took the items and began to speak.  “Akuma! The strange stream of our land, the ears to our ancestors, we greet you. A little child cannot reject anything that enters into his mouth because he is a little child and do not know nothing. Our son, Obiora came to play with his mates in the stream, he came from the city and do not know the culture of our land. Please forgive him and bring him back to us. Accept this offering from us and bring back our son. Akuma, we beg.”
His father threw those item one after the other into the stream and as he threw the items, the items drown immediately. At the last throw of the item, they saw Obiora sailing on top of the stream struggling for help and they rushed to help him out of the stream. They brought him out and he began to cough. His grandmother quickly carried him. His mother looked worried but happy that her son was back. She also looked nervous. They walked home. On their way, Obiora asked, “grandfather did you catch any bush meat for me?”
“Yes my grandson. I have some bush meat for you.” Obiora was happy, as he stretched out his hand for his grandfather to carry him and he carried him on his shoulder. They were happy again and walked home.



MORAL LESSONS
The story taught that whenever we go to a new place, we should try to ask question on how things are done. Obiora was a child and did not know the forbids of the land.

QUESTIONS
1.     What is the name of the village river?
2.     What did Obiora’s grandfather killed in the farm?
3.     What is Iquata?
4.     Obiora travelled with whom to the village?
5.     List the items Obiora;s grandfather took to the stream when Obiora was drown?



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