“Honeybee, wake-up!” It sounded like a distant cry. Desperate and filled with longing. I should wake up, she thought. Sleep seemed to be her favourite companion these days. Today she would be sent away. She would have to leave Koakor for the missionary camp. A six-hour journey she was not willing to make, but had to because of the life growing inside her. The pain she had brought to her family; the shame…oh the shame. BUT IT WASN’T MY FAULT! No one believed her. No one wanted to believe that their “sacred” village had been infiltrated by desperation in the form of a man from the neighbouring land. No one wanted to believe that their gods had allowed it. So, Zaria, in all her innocence was left to be shamed, carrying a bastard.
My nyana is a bastard? God of the missionaries, how can this be? I did not want this. I did not ask for this. How can you make me drink from a cup into which I did not pour? Have I not gone against the norm here and followed you? Have I not carried my cross, so to speak? Have I not done as you have asked? I have forsaken it all, mother and father, because they say You have the words that give eternal life! WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF LIFE? No one believes me, Lord. No one can stand me! The children can’t even look at me. I am being banished from my home. Lord, where are You? If you’re really there, show Yourself to me.
“Honeybee, it’s time to go. Wake up,” She stirred as her mother called to her.
“Mama, I want to stay, please don’t let them do this. I’ll be good, I promise.”
“Manyana, you have no choice. They’ll you throw into the waterfall if you don’t go,” Her mother replied, “I want you here, little one. You know your papa and I love you. But better we you love in distance than in death. Now hurry up and clothe yourself. Sister Loraine is here with the horses. You have to go before sun-up.”
Lifting herself from the mat, Zaria looked around her little hut for the last time, “Goodbye mat, ground and ceiling,” She walked out and looked around. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness around her, she caught a glimpse of Sister Lorraine’s figure. Arm in arm, Zaria and her mother walked in the direction of the horses. She did not know what she would have done without her mother’s support. Sister Loraine and Brother John were there to receive her.
“We’ll take good care of her, Claudette,” Sister Loraine said, “You can visit and even stay over whenever you want. The house of God is always open.”
They hugged, Zaria and her mother.
“Tell papa I’m sorry.”
She waved goodbye, hugs and kisses, climbed into the buggy and whence begun her journey. They would never look back, she thought, her and her bastard of a baby.
“Zee, you’ll love the missionary camp. We’ve set it up nicely for you,” Sister Loraine’s voice interrupted her thoughts and she smiled. What a lovely lady!
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