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The East African : January 27th 2014
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE JANUARY 25-31,2014 sho≥t sto≥y Kabando gave her co-wives all of the fertile land, leaving her with just two small pieces in Kamazo, which were too rocky to till ‘‘ Flora watched helplessly as about an old housewife who had lost her left eye in a fight with her husband. The story made Peace recall the night her father came from Tonto’s pub. ********** He stormed into the compound shout- ing and screaming, waking up even the neighbours. Kabando was drunk and angry. He kicked open the door to her house, and promptly tripped over the mountain of clothes that Flora had sorted and spread out to dry after an entire day of washing. Frightened by the noise, her daughters hid behind their mother, who was also shaken up. Their father tried in vain to get up but couldn’t, which made him even more angry. Flora slowly walked over to him to try to get him to bed. However, Kabando hit her hard in the face with the vodka bottle he was still holding. Flora fell unconscious, blood oozing from her face. That night turned into a nightmare for Peace and her two sisters. They rushed Flora to hospital with the help of their neighbour Kalei. Flora was in critical condition. Her broken face was a testament of Kabando’s cruelty. Illustration: John Nyagah Flo≥a’s unbowed spi≥it T By AHABWE KAMUSIIME he afternoon sun heats up the small room. Flora’s eyes are glued to the sobbing toddler in her arms. She is wondering what to do to comfort the baby girl. Her sagging breasts are all dried up from feeding nine little mouths. The baby is paying the price for her mother, Flora’s daughter Peace, returning to the Ivory University in search of a second degree. Flora has always lived in Matoma village. She is greatly admired for her patience and generosity of spirit. Her husband neglected her after marrying two more wives. Instead of being bitter and angry, she instead decided to look after not only her own children but also those of her co-wives. Life was hard for Flora as she did her best to provide for her children. She had not been given the opportunity to finish her studies and only reached Primary Four. Her father believed girls should only be trained to be good wives and so getting his daughters a formal education was not a priority. ********** Peace ended the passage with watery Flora tried to be a good wife by looking after her husband and tilling their farm in order to have enough food to feed her family. She had to forget the road to her par- ents’ compound even when Kabando, her husband treated her badly. He accused her of refusing to give him a son. “I have to protect my father’s name,” he said in defence of marrying Gaudacio, his second wife, who gave birth to two sons and third wife Byambi, whose second born was a boy named Fred. Flora watched helplessly as Kabando gave her co-wives all of the fertile land, leaving her with just two small pieces in Kamazo, which were too rocky to till. She found hope in the village credit and saving group tweyombeke, which literally means “let’s build ourselves.” She also worked in the village chief’s tea shamba, to pay school fees for her three daughters Peace, Hope and Sara. Flora worked hard and eventually saved up enough to buy a few secondhand clothes, which she sold in her own and neighbouring villages. The second-hand clothes business was quite rewarding but it involved her walking, barefoot sometimes for many kilometres, from one village to another. Moreover, she often had to endure her husband’s cruel scolding and name calling. Kabando would on several occasions beat her close to death. He accused her of using the business as an excuse to see other men who he said were funding her thriving business. She endured his cruelty and focused on ensuring that her daughters went to school in order to have a better life than she had had. She feared that her daughters would end up undergoing a similar fate as hers if they did not get an education. Peace, her first daughter, witnessed her mother’s miseries and understood her plight. This motivated her to do well in her studies and she was admitted to Ivory University for a bachelor of arts in education. Peace fell in love with Caleb, her former high school teacher, when she was in her second year at university and they soon got married. Caleb had spotted Peace’s shimmering golden skin on the second day he was teaching her literature class. He had asked her to read out a passage eyes and a hoarse voice. At the end of the lesson, Caleb asked to talk to her to find out what had upset her. As she narrated her mother’s ordeal, Caleb noticed her beauty, her dazzling eyes, beautiful smile and was soon captivated. Soon after finishing university, Peace received a scholarship for a master’s programme in gender studies. Grandmother Flora was chosen as the best person to look after Peace’s little girl. ********** The little girl is accustomed to breast milk and vehemently refused bottled milk. Flora finally drinks some herbs that she has seen her neighbour Nkwasi take. Her parched breasts swell almost immediately. The little girl suckles to her hearts content. “Drink up, little one, for you will need to be armed for tomorrow,” says Flora as she gazes at the dazzling little eyes. IX Send in your previously unpublished 1,200word fictional short story to eastafrican@ ke.nationmedia.com with “Magazine Short Story” as the subject.
January 20th 2014
February 3rd 2014