I slowly tagged along the timorous boys who kept their distance after my failed attempt to str!ke up a conversation.

It seemed as if they were trained never to talk to anyone or even converse amongst themselves.

It took me forever to return to the shack for I’ve to find my way all alone.


Even though the pail was half filled with water unlike the large buckets which my companions bore on their head, I struggled to drag it along because I was trembling visibly from excessive hunger.

The woman was presiding over a pot of beans which she scooped into her funnel shaped mouth with a big ladle.


Her face darkened the moment I came in with the water and she speedily stood up and was soon standing by my side.

She wrenched the pail from my hand and emptied the water on my head before proceeding to hit me over and over with the empty pail.

My cry diƫd in my head when the boys abruptly stopped on their track and quickly clustered together.

They shielded their faces from an unseen ass@ilant as the woman descended heavily on me and whimpered tim!dly like sc@red animals.

The scene was p@thetic and shook me to the marrows as I watch them cry like a brood of chicken abandoned by their mother.


When the woman has exhausted her strength, I lay on the ground breathing harshly like a lizard which fell off an intimidating height.

The boys continued in their posture until the woman emerged from the house with a whip and scattered their circle.

My baptism of f!re lent me an unbelievable strength which saw me through all the time it took to round up the task at hand.

When we eventually sat down, the woman brought out the pot of beans and while I was expecting her to dole out the food inside a plate, she furiously barked command and tbe boys thrust out a hand where she deposited a miserly portion in their palms.

The same fate which she meted out to the others awaited me and as I held the food in my palms ruminating on how such a ridiculous amount of food could ease the grumbling inside my stomach, the boys who has already wolfed down their portion thrust out a hand begging me to hand over mine if I didn’t need it.


My te@rs flows fast as I stared at the gaunt faces which reminded me of Alali and the lake of f!re he waded which eventually k!Iled him in the hand of the medicine Man.

Instinctively, I shared the food to the boys and hoped to do more if my kinsman returned to fetch me and before I could look up, the food has already disappeared and they were licking their palms hungrily.

Even though I’ve suffered all my life, bearing the pang of hunger and insufficiency stoically, my poverty has never really broken me in comparison to the type of hard life my young comrades is subjected to.

My mind stirred and flew to my only surviving family Datubo and I wondered what he might be passing through wherever he may be.

The woman retired to bed leaving the four of us outside and I waited patiently for my kinsman to turn up and take me away from this horrible place.


Towards afternoon, the boys began to scurry about assembling rags and empty jars which they heaped together.

I watched interestingly at the activities going on but kept mum lest I frighten them once again.

The woman appeared after sometime and began to work those rags on the boys altering their looks.

By the time she was through with them and moved over to work on me, we have become disabled in different ways and was paired to work together.

The youngest amongst us has become a blind vulnerable lad with a club foot while I was the deaf brother in rags who lead him about.


She led us out and by the time we’ve gone quite far from the house into a place I perceived to be a bus terminal, she mounted at a spot observing as we dispersed around begging for alms.

I was too shy and would have blown up the whole charade but for my companion who acted the script too well and was compensated generously both in cash and material gifts.

I ate voraciously like an escaped conv!ct when a good Samaritan bought us food and even though the boy at my back was nudging me to give up the food and store it away in the big sack we carried, I did not mind him but went on feasting on our good fortune.

When I stared up towards the direction of the woman, I could see her bristling like a dem0n and sending mis!les my way.

My heart sank into the pit of my stomach while the food which I was still chewing suddenly turned bland in my mouth.

When I dared to stare her way once again, I almost peed on my body for she was already consuming my flesh alive.


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