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As we drove on to the homestead I repeated the comparisons I had made on that first day that I went to the mission, but PowerPoint Presentation
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As we drove on to the homestead I repeated the comparisons I had made on that first day that I went to the mission, but

As we drove on to the homestead I repeated the comparisons I had made on that first day that I went to the mission, but

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As we drove on to the homestead I repeated the comparisons I had made on that first day that I went to the mission, but

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  1. As we drove on to the homestead I repeated the comparisons I had made on that first day that I went to the mission, but this time in reverse.

  2. What I saw made it hard to understand Babamukuru.

  3. As far as I could see, the only affection anyone could have for that compound had to come out of loyalty. I could not imagine anyone actually wanting to go there, unless, like me, they were going to see their mother.

  4. This time the homestead looked worse than usual. And the most disheartening thing was that it did not have to look like that.

  5. When I went to the pit latrine that was once a good one and built under Babamukuru’s supervision and with his finances downwind from the huts, I gagged.

  6. ‘Why don’t you clean the toilet any more‘?’ I reproached my mother, annoyed with her for always reminding me, in the way that she was so thoroughly beaten and without self-respect, that escape was a burning necessity.

  7. I did clean the latrine, with Nyasha’s help. Not that I asked her to — I was too embarrassed to do that — but she agreed with me that the latrine had to be cleaned, so that was what we did.

  8. Babamukuru put on an old pair of khaki trousers and made my father and Takesure help him fix a roof on the hozi although he did not sleep there.

  9. , we were greeted by depressing silence.

  10. ‘You have come, Babamukuru. You have come, Maiguru. You have come, SisiNyasha,’ and so on until we had all been ritually embraced. ‘Yes, yes, we have arrived. At last,’ smiled Babamukuru and

  11. Babamukuru did not like to waste time.

  12. My mother, Netsai told us, was lying down because she was not feeling strong these days.

  13. He had left the homestead late in the morning with Takesure.

  14. Babamukuru was shocked You say Takesure is still here?’ ‘Yes, we are still here, Mwaramu,’ called Lucia, casually emerging from the hozi.

  15. ‘Even if you do ignore me,’ Lucia continued, ‘it doesn’t mean I’m not here.

  16. I wished Lucia would be quiet. Her case was a serious one and it did not help to be rude to Babamukuru.

  17. a wild woman in spite of — or maybe because of — her beauty.  

  18. her skin was not deteriorating and breaking; it remained glowing and healthy. 

  19. ‘Otherwise,’ they reasoned optimistically, ‘if he had had sons, how would those sons have taken wives? See now, the daughters will bring cattle, the cattle will enable the old man to work his fields, the family will prosper, and when the sons are of an age to marry, by then they will have accumulated their roora.’

  20. Besides’, they added significantly, ‘a man can’t be sure about daughters!’ my grandfather’s daughters gained a reputation for being loose women. ‘But look at that Lucia! Ha! There is nothing of a woman there. She sleeps with anybody and everybody, but she hasn’t borne a single child yet. She’s been bewitched. More likely she’s a witch herself.’ Thus poor Lucia was indicted for both her barrenness and her witchery my grandparents were only too happy to pack my aunt Lucia off to look after her sister.

  21. Naturally, people said she had done it on purpose in order to snare a husband. Takesure in spite of a strong aversion to labour, he had been so ready to come and help my father Babamukuru continued to believe,inhis uncomplicated way, that Takesure had come to help out on the homestead so that with the money my uncle paid him he would be able to finish off the payments on his second wife.

  22. . But Babamukuru was mistaken. The truth of the matter was that Takesure wanted to get away. Takesure did not want to work Lucia, who had grown shrewd in her years of dealing with men, Although she had been brought up in abject poverty, she had not, like my mother, been married to it at fifteen.

  23. Her spirit, unfettered in this respect, had experimented with living and drawn its own conclusions. Consequently, she was a much bolder woman than my mother, and my father, who no longer felt threatened by a woman’s boldness since he had proved his mettle by dispiriting my mother, was excited by the thought of possessing a woman like Lucia, like possessing a thunderstorm to make it crackle and thunder and lightning at your command.

  24. my mother always insisted that the rumours about her sister were no more than that. Lucia was a good worker, it would be useful to have her permanently about the home. Not even for such advantages, though, would Babamukuru consider keeping a bigamist in his family. ‘Such things do not happen in my home,’ he decreed.  

  25. My father was much more afraid of Babamukuru’swrath, which he had experienced, than of the wrath of God, which he had not, so reluctantly he had promised to make sure that Takesurewent and took Lucia with him.

  26. But here Lucia was, embracing Maigurupassionately, And she gushed on and on about how Lucia threw her arm companionably around Maiguru’s shoulders.

  27. Although Lucia had made up her mind that Babamukuruwas irrelevant when she began to talk to Maiguru, not even she could ignore the authority of that voice. ‘I’ve been listening to you laughing and talking for a long time and wondering when you would remember that somebody gave birth to you.’ I was surprised at how difficult it was to be correct with my mother when I managed so becomingly, so naturally, with Baba and Maiguru.

  28. my mother continued unkindly, hiding the bite in her voice under a laugh. ‘Must you sit on the floor? Yet there are chairs? Tambu, go fetch a chair for Maiguru.’ My mother was delighted with Nyasha’s bad manners. ‘Is that what you do?’ she pounced maliciously. ‘You sit in chairs but you can’t be bothered to say hello to me!’

  29. Babamukuru was valiant. Overcoming his inbred aversion to such biological detail, he took my mother’s question seriously. It was at times like this that Nyasha was liable to say the first thing that came into her head, and those things were usually disastrous. Lucia too was bored with this meandering talk. ‘Nyamashewe, Mwaramu,’ she interrupted, beginning the formal greetings. Technically she shouldn’t have begun the greetings.

  30. But these days people were not too strict about such things, and being Lucia and being notorious she could get away with this behaviour. It alarms me to think of all that carbon monoxide hanging about in the air to asphyxiate people, and all the inflammatory products of combustion that we breathed in that had already by that time made my father permanently asthmatic and bronchitic.

  31. During that holiday I realised that some things were not as they should have been in our family there were twenty-four people altogether on the homestead, which was twenty-four stomachs to fill three times a day. Twenty-four bodies for which water had to be fetched from Nyamarira daily. Twenty-four people’s laundry to wash as often as possible, and Tete’s youngest was still in napkins. Now, this kind of work was women’s work, and of the thirteen women

  32. So Maiguru, Nyasha, the three helping girls and myself were on our feet all day. The mornings began early with heating water for the adults to wash. We took it in turns to go to Nyamarira, either Nyasha, Anna and myself or the other two girls

  33. Maiguru worked harder than anybody else, because as the senior wife and owner of the best cooking facilities as well as provider of the food to cook, she was expected to oversee all the culinary operations. Babamukuru had bought a paraffin refrigerator for his wife,

  34. One evening, just after the breaking of the new year of I970, Babamukurusummoned a kind of family dare I must say that I was very pleased when Jeremiah came to me with that request, because it showed me that he was becoming responsible about developing the home.   looking for work so that he would be able to finish paying his wife’s roora.

  35. We all knew what was going on and my mother and Mainini threatened to become quite violent in their opposition to the system. ‘Have you ever seen it happen,’ she waxed ferociously and eloquently, ‘that a hearing is conducted in the absence of the accused? Aren’t they saying that my young sister mpregnatedherselfon purpose? Isn’t that what Takesure will tell them and they will believe it? Ehe! They are accusing Lucia. She should be there to defend herself.’

  36. The mutterings and malcontent carried on, my mother and aunts fanning each other’s tempers until Lucia, who enjoyed battle and liked to be ferocious at it, was seething with anger. ‘It is all right for you,’ she boiled. ‘They are not telling lies about you. It’s not your names they are spoiling. I am the one they are talking about. I am the one they are judging up there.

  37. So what do we do, Maiguru? We are looking to you to give us a plan.’ Lucia insisting that Maiguru take sides the fear made it necessary to tighten up. Each retreated more resolutely into their roles, pretending while they did that actually they were advancing, had in fact initiated an offensive, when really, for each one of them, it was a last solitary, hopeless defence of the security of their illusions.

  38. Let them sort out their own problems, and as for those who want to get involved the protests subsided into stunned disbelief I was not born into my husband ’s family, therefore it is not my concern. Takesureis not my relative. What he does with Lucia is no business of mine — she is not my relative either. If they make problems forthemselves, well, they will just have to see what they can do. But what they do does not concern me.’

  39. ‘She is proud,’ denounced my mother when Maiguru had gone.   . ‘See what a proud woman your Maiguru is,’ she sneered. ‘Proud and unfeeling. Do you think she cares about you? Never! You are no relative of hers. It’s my blood that’s in you. Not hers.’ ‘And why does she think differently from the rest of us? She thinks she is different. She thinks she’s perfect so she can do what she likes. First she kills my son —’

  40. But my mother was in a bad way and there was no holding her. The things that were coming out had been germinating and taking root in her mind for a long time. When, Lucia, just tell me, when, did you ever contain yourself? Do you even know what it means, you who were in the blankets with my husband the moment you arrived?

  41. Because Maiguru is educated. That’s why you all kept quiet. Because she’s rich and comes here and flashes her money around, so you listen to her as though you want to eat the words that come out of her mouth. But me, I’m not educated, am I? I’m just poor and ignorant, so you want me to keep quiet, you say I mustn’t talk. They’re a disgrace to decent parents, except that Maiguru is not decent because first she killed my son and now she has taken Tambudzai away from me.

  42. As we drove on to the homestead I repeated the comparisons I had made on that first day that I went to the mission, but this time in reverse.

  43. Oh,yes, Tamubudzai. Do you think I haven’t seen the way you follow her around,’ she spat at me fiercely, ‘doing all her dirty work for her, anything she says? You think your mother is so stupid she won’t see Maiguruhas turned you against me with her money and her white ways? You think I am dirt now, me, your mother.

  44. Just the other day you told me that my toilet is dirty. "It disgusts me," that’s what you said. If it is meat you want that I cannot provide for you, if you are so greedy you would betray your own mother for meat, then go to your Maiguru.

  45. After all these years and all these things, do you think I am still a child to be distracted by the nonsense in the house? Nonsense I have lived with and seen every day for nineteen years? No, I cannot be distracted, but the matter is serious and it concerns you. Nyasha closed her face and said it did not matter; that my mother had shown us her suffering just as Maiguru was always showing hers.  

  46. ‘Ma’Chido,’ Babamukuru insisted, his voice breaking ever so slightly, ‘I have invited you to sit down and listen to this case.’ ‘Shame,’ sympathised Babamunini Thomas. ‘She is so tired, too tired even to sit and listen. But it is true. Maiguru works hard. Ya, she really works hard to keep things comfortable here.’ And Babamukuru was pleased enough to let the matter pass.

  47. She just refused to go with me. Ehe! I told her, Mukoma said we must go, and she laughed! ‘I was afraid, Mukoma, truly afraid,’ Takesure quavered. ‘You know what is said of her, that she walks in the night?’ She’s probably the one bewitching Mukoma Jeremiah’s children, so that he will marry her. She wants Jeremiah, not me!’

  48. . We just watched her as she strode in there, her right eye glittering as it caught the yellow paraffin flame, glittering dangerously Look at him trying to hide because now I am here.’ In two strides he was beside him and, securing an ear between each finger and thumb, she dragged him to his feet. ‘Let me go, let me go,’ he moaned.

  49. We were all laughing outside. The next thing that I remember clearly was my father starting out of his chair and Lucia warning him to stay in it if he preferred Takesurewith ears. Then Babamukuru, who was wise, told my father to sit down and let Lucia speak.

  50. ‘Tell me, Babamukuru, would you say this is a man? Can it be a man that talks such nonsense? A man should talk sense, isn’t it'? It was because this man, this Jeremiah, yes, you Jeremiah, who married my sister, he has a roving eye and a lazy hand. Whatever he sees, he must have; but he doesn’t want to work for it, isn’t it, Jeremiah? In the house Babamukuru was deeply perplexed and annoyed with my father for stirring up this trouble.