The needle pierced through my skin while my father stares coldly and nod.
It is another occasion when I have to hold on to Tamuno, the builder of lives for 3days before seeing the town doctor for a stretch of my life.
It happened under the hot sun yesterday, I clutched my school bag like a baby when everything on my mind was to get home for a water to drink and a cool bed to rest as my head aches terribly and my throat itchy and dry. Down the narrow lane, I spent a lot of time bending down to relive myself of the intense pain in my legs.
The road was empty and lonely, there was no one in sight to go and call my father as usual. Other students have gone back home earlier while I tried to finish up my classwork in company of my teacher. She has sworn that she won’t allow me to go home until I finish like the slow and lazy writer that I have become. All what was on my mind then was to impress her, so, I kept to it till I finished.
On that lonely path everything faded away till some hours ago when my skin is being teared and plastered with dark charcoal by the popular medicine man and now in the hospital surrounded by staunch smell of Izal. I opened my eyes forcefully and called the last family I have with me.
‘father’, I called slowly. I want to let him know that I am awake and that the blade no longer pains as it used to when I was 2, 3 and 15years. I want to ask him why he never believed the town doctor who said I am not a witch and I am not being threatened by one, but all I could do was to look reassuringly to his distraught face.
Mama has been gone for awhile now; I was told she sacrificed herself for me to live but truth be told there has been no life beyond the world everyone thinks I am stuck with a plaque.
I am Kokumo the daughter of Asabi who is betrothed to the god of Tamuno, the builder of lives……….,like incantation I have chanted it with pride to the old and young but not anymore do I find comfort in it.
My father enrolled me to a school and my teacher thinks my case is a medical case for India, a country she said is far from here.
I want to go to India and see their Tamuno, I want to be able to put smiles on my father’s face while I walk without the daily herbs being forced down my throat, the burning leaves blocking my olfactory lobes and to my head in all indications to be toppled with the doctor’s syringe on a last blood count.
The medicine man tell us when to go to the hospital. We cannot go until he said so. Our believe lie with Tamuno for all those years that my body pales up and school becomes no option.
‘ Knock, Knock’
‘Who is there?’
‘Aunty Koku’, She answered. Her voice rings an alarm on my head and I remember those days the doctor gave us appointments my father denied, the days doctors prescribed medicines and my father beat his chest of the power of the village medicine man that said my mother is interceding for me Infront of Tamuno and that it will take a little while for me to get better. All those while that I began to believe in the teacher, my teacher confronted him of his staunch faith in his god over that of his daughter’s health but my father proved helpless.
She told him if I should die it will be my father killing me but she is just a woman. She watched till my father’s and my people’s faith stand in between my healthy life.
I have never been healthy!
I cried silently on the mat I lay where I can no longer stand up to go errands, where I can no longer go to school. I feel so useless looking directly to my teacher in the eyes.
‘ How are you doing today?’ She asked cheerfully but it didn’t soothe my pains like it would do when in the four wall of her classroom. I love her so much and I want to be a teacher too.
As slowly as I could summon, i told her what the doctor said. He told me I am a strong fighter but this last one, I should count on God beyond our gods because my system is so weak, my kidney has melted with some other things and I will have to go and rest in a peaceful place.
‘ A peaceful place’, I said again while I turn to my teacher to ask her the question I have always been asking her.
‘Why do you have to wait for my father to do the right thing, Aunty?
‘I am sorry’, is all she could say before she embraced me in an armful hug.
I am no longer my usual self, my Skelton is out and my vein seems to be my only flesh.
My fate has been sealed for 15years when my father relied on supernatural and play deaf to all indications that my ailment is medically curable and now that it is no longer yielding, I write to the best of my ability.
I am Kokumo; the girl with the sickle cell mistaken for the wife of the village god, Tamuno. I am the daughter of Asabi, the victim of religionism. My father held to his faith against science and the people assumed I was fine with my father. I should say their silence is one of the causes of my impending death but I hope they will regain their voices and stand for all others who need their voices.
Let everyone knows that I, Kokumo wrote this for those who need comfort in their truth.
I wrote this for those who normally ask God, ‘Why me?’ because I have done that severally and I have grown to know that it can’t be different being someone else