Feetless

by  Ewurama Akyere Saah

 

Hopes
have
fallen
into
broken pieces

The moon moves swiftly
like the eagle of the sky.
He tells us nothing.
His flaming fire,
saps our strength.

And the pots of shadows
come crawling at the feet
of our flesh of dust
and of wind…

The wind does not break
a tree that bends;
we are broken trees
to the glory of the wind.

Oh, the coming nights may
drop her dim light
on our fears

We shall weave a new hope
upon the night…

 

Ewurama  Akyere Saah a sophomore at KNUST,Kumasi, Ghana. She blogs here.

One Day, Gaza

by  Saeed Abdul Ghanee Nalayakinah

One day
when the sun shall be domiciled
behind the stuffed dunes of time,
when all has gone to tie with memory
confined to lay in solitary keep,
this story shall be authored again.

One day
when there shall be strewed about
the luckless dusts of brotherly comrades;
adopted into the scalding fields of time
in their brazen numbers,
we shall make some teary communion
with many a sigh, and nostalgia
upon our brotherhood buried deep in scars.

One day
after the feasting days are counted
off charts and desecrated pages alike,
when rarity shall  defy order with need,
and the mindless foe — once the brother
shall become brother once more;
the chicken shall come home to roost.

One day,
the feuding children of Israel:
we the descendants of Ishmael
and our brethren
the children of Isaac
shall commune in oneness
fellowshipping without warring —
just one day.

One of these days.

Saeed Abdul Ghanee Nalayakinah lives and writes from Education Ridge, Tamale,Ghana where he is training as a professional teacher.

Issue Two Editorial: There Will Be A Time

 

When I was a child, I read from some of the finest writers from the early generation of Ghanaian writers. I still have some of their books on my shelves. Many a time, I ask myself who the next generation of Ghanaian writers will be as I pass by those books. The question of whether Ghanaian writing is on the rise or fall is by now cliché. Mostly probably, what we have not done much in the last decade or so are to explore spaces for placing our creative works.

In continuing with the tradition established by Okyeame, Ntakra and other early Ghanaian literary journals, we hope this venture will not just be a memory but it will introduce a new generation of Ghanaian writers as we join the rest of the world for a literary communion.

In this issue, we present writers from different generations with different tastes for aesthetics and are from different countries. Darko Antwi captures the immediate scene to the death of Auntie Araba, a persona. She is not only leaving but she wants a better, peaceful home for those left behind. The young writer, Adelaide Aseidu writes a fascinating story about career choices. Here are what we present:

Poetry

  1. The Last Words Of Auntie Araba – Darko Antwi
  2. Dirty Trip, Approved                     –         Ben Nardolili
  3. In Wild Hunger                              –             Joan McNerney
  4. The Truth                                       –                Steve Klepetar
  5. Wanderer’s Words                         –         G. Edzordzi Agbozo
  6. I Saw Your Face Up There           –         Kyle  Kacza

Interview
The People Who Write Questionnaire: Ayesha Haruna Attah with Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Fiction
The Rustling Of Leaves – Adelaide Aseidu
Dreams Of Night –              Kofi Takyi Asante

Non-Fiction
On Time – Achiro Patricia Olwoch

It is also worthy of mention that Aisha Nelson has joined us as a poetry editor and co-founder. Ehanom Review is now a monthly journal. We hope you will enjoy reading these works as much as we have enjoyed reading them. Let’s commune for yet another literary feast next month. Thank you and may God bless us all.

Best,
Kwabena Agyare Yeboah.
Kumasi- Ashanti.

 

Dreams Of Night

By Kofi Takyi Asante

 

I dreamt a dream. In the dream, I sat on a bench at the OPD. I was sitting among a small crowd of patients waiting to see the doctor. I didn’t know what day of the week it was. I didn’t know which doctor I’m going to see. Neither did I know the ailment for which I was going to seek medication; indeed, I had no idea why I sat there in the first place. Yet, I sat there. I sat waiting, waiting, waiting expectantly.

 

A minor commotion at the doorway caught my attention. They were pushing a man on a stretcher through the crowd at the doorway. As they rushed past us, I rose to catch a glimpse. I looked down on the bloody man twitching on the stretcher and I started: it was I! But I wasn’t alarmed to the point of stupefaction, and the initial jolt soon wore off.

 

I joined them to push the trolley I was lying on. I don’t know why I decided to assist the hospital staff. We transported me into one of the operation rooms. Although I knew absolutely nothing about medicine, I got a vague sense that I should guide these medical staff. So I directed them to place me on the surgical table. After all the others have put on their surgical gowns, I also dashed to the dressing room and emerged in a green gown and face mask. I walked into the surgery room with my left hand gloved. I stood among the medical team and put my right hand in the other glove. All was ready for the surgery!

 

I watched silently as the theatre attendants fixed the drips and brought out and arranged the surgical instruments. Then they all started staring at me; quietly, intensely, as if to say, ‘Do your work!’

 

I got their message! I picked a scalpel and moved closer to the table. They crowded around me. I looked down at me, lying there under the lights of the operating room. They had cleaned my bloody body. The chloroform mask was still over my nose. I lay there, as one in sleep. I made my first incision as gingerly as I would pick up a sleeping baby. I slowly dragged the surgical knife, still in the flesh, to create a little rift in the flesh. Then I slowly pulled out a damaged tissue. I made another incision, carefully, as though the life sustaining silver cord was under the very skin.

 

 

I looked at the attendants and in their eyes, I read disapproval at my slow pace. But I still continued at the same pace. I picked out another tissue. The third incision I made was a long and deep one and I might have taken about ten minutes making it. Maybe they felt the pain vicariously or else I might have pushed their patience to its limit, for they grunted and mumbled inaudible sounds of discontent. I probed into the incision and cut out some flesh. Their throats thundered. A vein snapped and blood squirted out. An attendant yelled. Another shrieked. The ensuing protestation was rapid and unexpected. It was tumultuous. Some grabbed steel instruments and struck them against metal surfaces. Loud angry voices filled the air. A number of the attendants rushed at me, one brandishing a large syringe. Just at this point, the door gave way and people gushed into the surgical room, shouting.

 

There was now a confusion of voices. The voices remained loud, but the emotions in them changed, slowly. They changed from anger to concern to sorrow. I was now totally perturbed. I couldn’t tell why they were now wailing. The noise coming from the attendants striking objects against metal surfaces grew louder. It was absolute anarchy in the surgical room!

 

 

I stood silent, still, as if thunderstruck, watching what was happening. The bedlam was unbearable. It rose above the wailing and the general commotion in the room until I felt my nerves firing dangerously away…

 

*               *                 *

 

I am jolted from the dream at the sound of men hammering nails into my coffin. Soon, they finish driving in the nails through the lid and the coffin is shut tight. I have been laid in state, in the large hall of my house. The wailings from mourners outside is loud indeed! The lid of the coffin is made of glass. I look at the mourners through the glass on the coffin; the mourners look back at me through the glass on the coffin.

 

‘He seems to be only asleep, he seems to be merely asleep; asleep and not dead! He looks like he’ll wake up at any instant, at this very instant,’ a mourner sobs and bursts into a dirge which gets everyone weeping again.

 

As I watch, I see many relatives and friends who cannot control the tears. Some are fighting hard to hold it back and others to produce it. One of them comes in from the backyard, where she has peeled onions under her nose. She comes in with tears rolling down her face and her nose running. She comes in wailing, sobbing, screaming and losing her voice. She bursts into the room like a rushing wind and crashes heavily on my casket. She is dragged off. She howls, laments and will not be comforted. She kicks and screams; she squirms and turns; she asks to be left alone; she wants to go with me to my grave. Her piercing screams soon bring people rushing into the room.

 

‘What’s happening to her?’

 

‘Please hold her before she harms herself!’

 

It takes the combined efforts of about six strong men to drag her out of the room. The crowd follows her out.

 

And then I see a sight! My wife stands over the coffin, clad in black. There cannot be a more poignant image of human misery than the picture she cuts! The intensity of her anguish is not issuing forth in vocal effusions. She just stands there, weeping softly as the billows of sorrow surge inside her like ocean waves and like the ocean waves, she breaks in silent, soft sobs. My dead heart is pierced with grief.

 

I cannot bear this sight. I cannot endure it. Will a dead man’s heart be broken? Will he have to endure pain again? The bitter thoughts fade as another stupor sweeps over me.

 

The stupor transported me to dream-world again. Except that there was nothing fantastical about this land of dreams. This was my life. But I was not living it again, not even vicariously. I was only a witness to my life now. I saw me as a child; a frail, helpless and an amorphous thing which was quickly taking form. I was whizzing over this landscape of my life. I saw me crying, eating, playing, schooling, falling down and falling ill, getting up and getting well. I saw myself running round and chasing things, singing, laughing, jumping, fighting… it was bewildering watching this from the perspective of a disembodied spectator; there was no rest, no wait. Even when I slept. Even when I crashed from fatigue. The arrow had been fired and it only kept flying. That arrow was my life.

 

I saw the friends I grew up knowing and the friends I made along the way, in the journey of my life. There were moments of carefree and careless play. My heart lightened at the bubbling laughs and I almost smiled at the mischievous pranks. As I grew to gain more understanding of things, sometimes I had flashes of insight into the things that extended to eternity.

 

But all too suddenly, I was youth; that giddy stage of life when almost all things are riddled with excitement. I found myself in the centre of the excitement. So I fought for causes and I designed grand plans and envisaged splendid futures. I could be a master of my destiny. And it was all in my power and within my grasp. I was going to be unstoppable! I was going to be a force. I would be a giant. Yɛntie obiaa!

 

But soon the whirl of youth stopped, and when I saw, I had a wife and some children. I wondered at the speed of my transformation. My grand designs had all disappeared. I now marveled how I had fitted myself into a regimen I wouldn’t even have imagined in my adolescence. No matter how early I rose up, I wasn’t early enough: Finishing off office papers, getting the children up and ready for school, and crying, ‘Sarah, my socks!’ And then dashing off to beat rush hour traffic – sometimes missing breakfast – and getting caught up in it nevertheless. At work, there were many things to do and time ran slow, unlike the mornings when time just flew.

 

Exciting moments at this stage were when work closed and friends met. We laid aside the burdens of work, and fiercely debated the latest issues in football and politics. There were also lots of laughs. Oftentimes, we did this over many bottles of beer.

 

On one such night, the thought fell into my head, like a lead weight, that I was going to die. This wasn’t like the vague knowledge that we all have of the finality of human life. This particular case was a sudden acute awareness of my own mortality. It weighed so much on me that I withdrew completely into my broodings and was oblivious to the loud arguments taking place around me. When they couldn’t get me to respond to anything, one of my friends pushed me so hard that my chair toppled over and I went crashing heavily to the ground…

 

*             *                   *

 

I am jerked back to the present as my coffin hits the bottom of the grave. I can see my wife looking down on me from the mouth of the grave. She is surrounded by our children. Beside them stands the priest. Behind them, a large crowd of mourners; some weeping, some wailing, others are listless and are waiting to go home. The priest is speaking. He narrates my life as he knows it. He says I was a good man. He says I loved God. He says that I always obeyed the voice of God; loyal church member, ever ready to volunteer, ever ready to give to the cause of the church. He says I was a good Christian.

 

*                 *                       *

 

I was transported from the cemetery to my death that fateful morning. I left home early as usual. With the children now in secondary school, mornings routines were no longer the feverish events that they used to be. But we also missed them. We only saw them twice in a month, when we visited them at school. I promised to take my wife out for dinner after work. I had wanted to pick her up from her workplace but she wanted to buy some things after work so we decided to rather meet at the shop. I never thought that morning would be our last time together.

 

I had a meeting with the staff in the morning, and a board meeting later on in the day. I’d prepared everything necessary for the meetings. I had the secretary yesterday send all staff copies of the agenda and other documents. I’d already contacted the members of the board and made sure all was ready. I’d even made sure that all was perfect for the night out with my wife.

 

And so I drove towards my workplace, never to get there. My whole day was planned. I’d prepared for the day; the staff meeting, the board meeting, and the night out with my wife. But this was where my arrow struck the bull’s eye. My mortal journey ended there.

 

*                 *                         *

 

And now I lay in a coffin. The priest has finished his sermon and has just given the shovel to my wife. She scoops a heap of earth and readies herself to hurl it on me. And suddenly, the weight of the fact of my death and burial falls heavily upon me, just like it had done that night with my friends! This can’t happen! I shout:

 

‘Stop it! Stop it! Don’t throw it,’ but it was in vain.

 

‘Don’t do it! Don’t bury me! Don’t you see I’m headed for doom?!’

 

She cast it, obliviously, to my protests. I see the earth hurling towards me, and I see my final doom furiously speeding towards me. Yet I see the sand falling upon me in slow motion, darkly portentous. As the grains rain on the coffin, I can hear the sound of each thunderous individual particle. Each grain sings a grim song, unmelodious and abrasive. They sing of untold terrors beyond the grave. They hum about vindictive spirits and of furies which can never be placated. They foretold of tortured souls ruing the day they were born. They conjure images of desiccation, of exquisite trauma which cannot be described, of spiritual wickedness beyond the most sadistic of human imaginations. They sing of a hell, and of the infinite love and mercy that had invented it. The song of the pieces of earth beating upon the surface of the coffin is breaking my ear drums.

 

My wife hands over the shovel to the labourers who immediately go to work covering me up. I continue screaming, protesting, begging. My protests are in vain. I scream and scream. The only response I get from my wife and children is uncontrollable tears. The fools, I think bitterly, tears won’t save me; stop them! Let them not bury me! With every falling sand particle, I sink lower and lower into the grave. I now see the mourners as if from a very great distance; as if from the other side of a great gulf. Slowly, I see the mourners going away. I am almost gone, and my shrieks have now turned into an inaudible whimper. They scoop the last shovelful of earth and cast it, and I see the dread finality of my case.

 

In that instant, visions of judgment burst on my sight. I see a Great White Throne, and of myself standing weak and sapless before it. Standing before the Throne, I hear the voice in me rise and start to utter something…

 

*         *                   *

 

I awoke suddenly from my sleep, drenched in sweat. It was the time of night when everything goes to sleep and it felt like a big blanket of stillness and silence covered the earth. Against the placidity of the night, I could hear my heart pounding furiously away. The sound of my beating heart howled in my ears. I looked around the dark room. I turned, and my wife lay silently by my side. The night was still absolutely still. My heart still hammered away. My head was heavy with thoughts and fears and sounds. I was gripped with terrors.

 

I sat up until my heart stopped racing. I listened to the silence of the room. I wanted to hear the sounds of other lives. But all was still. Not even a single cricket shrilled. I listened for sounds of my wife breathing. The howling in my ears was now a faint throb. But I heard not a sound.

 

‘Jane’, I called softly. No response.

 

I called again. And again. She didn’t sleep this deep. I decided to tap her softly on the arm to wake her. My hand touched the flesh of her arm. My hand touched ice. I swiftly recoiled and touched her forehead. Again, my hand was stung by the bitter chill of her flesh. My wife has died in her sleep.

 

The night air was slit by my anguished cry…

 

*           *                         *

 

I leapt out of my sleep, screaming like a man escaping from deadly assailants. I sat bolt upright on the bench like a man who has just been revived by a defibrillator. Up above, the wind played lazily with the leaves of the mango tree under which I had been sleeping. I looked around me with wild eyes, scared that I may slip back into another bad dream. The fierceness of my waking scream brought the women in the compound house running towards me, concerned.

 

‘Are you alright? What is happening? Are you alright?’

 

‘Where am I? Where is my wife?’ I asked. They laughed in response and went back to their chores.

 

*           *             *

 

At school the following day, my class five classmates laughed at me when they heard I had asked about a wife when I woke up from an afternoon sleep.

 

Bio.

Kofi  Takyi Asante is a Ghanaian blogger and writer. He blogs here.

 

 

 

I Saw Your Face Up There by Kyle Kacza

The boy taught himself to remember
the day next, he’d be an oracle inside
before without and the final say comes;
I don’t remember.
The world favored the sun first:
I’ll never be jealous of anything.
Yet there might never be sleep.
A massive coiling cloud
of grackles raked the parkinglot
while the sun wept away for hours
past the skyline,hemispheres deepen:
a pink heart in the bottom of the sky.
And you, the one great soul,
you slid up the dusk and made your image
on the world as easy as a spill.

On Time

by  Achiro Patricia Olwoch

Achola is seated by a small swamp. This is no ordinary swamp; it has come about during a period of two weeks of non-stop rain which has flooded the land below the village where Achola lives. There are lots of flies around her because this swamp also has all the faeces and garbage from the village. It is a dumping ground. Achola does not seem to mind about the filth around her and she is not bothered when a house fly rests on her nose. She just chases it with a wave of her hand.
The truth is that Achola’s village is not a village anymore. It is a camp – a simple collection of small makeshift huts in a large open area. The occupants like to call it their village though, because it is the only home that they now know. Each hut houses a family and is so small that a grown man cannot stand in it. There is one communal bathroom in the middle of the camp that serves almost thirty households, with latrines filling up faster than they can be dug. There is no room to fit a bed and each hut can only fit two small mattresses on the floor. The hut is the living-, dining- and bedroom all in one. Most of the time, the occupants are forced to eat outside their huts be¬cause of the lack of space inside. There are hundreds of these little huts with only about twenty centimeters between one hut and the next. The children hardly have space to play and make do with the open spaces near the bore¬holes and feeding area.
Achola can see the trucks from a distance and she stands up to get a better look. She thinks that she is seeing badly when they disappear behind a hill. Achola shakes her head and sits back down. ‘‘It must be a dream,’’ she tells herself. Just as she is starting to believe that, the trucks appear and this time they are clear. Achola claps her hands. They are the food relief trucks heading towards her village. She has to hurry and tell her mother. Achola has to be early to be among the first people in the line. That is the only way that she can guarantee that she will get some food.
“My child, is everything alright?” her mother asks weakly.
“The trucks have come, Mama, I want to be the first in queue,”Achola re¬plies without looking at her mother.

“Do not forget to take the right papers,” her mother says, gathering as much energy as she can so that she can sit up.
Achola turns and sees her struggle.
“No Mama,” she says, but her mother insists and sits up.
She looks at Achola and has a serious look on her face. Under the dim light in the hut her mother says, “You cannot fail. If you do, we will die.”
Life has not always been like this for Achola. She has not always sat beside a swamp covered with flies and she has not always been hungry and waiting for the relief trucks to bring food. In fact, it is not just Achola but the other people in the village as well. They have not always been sad and hungry. Begging and dependence are things that they were not used to in the past. They used to be a hard-working and peaceful people. Achola remembers living with her mother, father and three brothers in the village at the edge of the forest. They were one happy family and they never lacked anything. They had a whole home¬stead with three big huts and a little one in the centre. That was their granary and Achola remembers that it was always full of food. Her mother and father and two older brothers always worked really hard each time that they went to the shamba. Achola always stayed at home with another one of her brothers who was supposed to look after her. He was only seven-years-old and she was four. Their mother always left them enough food and water to last until she got back from the shamba. Their village was very safe, so there was no worry of anyone hurting or stealing the young children.
Achola’s father was the chief of the village and he loved his people. He was a wise leader and a good organizer. He introduced his village to the idea of saving up their money and crops for a rainy day. It was normal for every compound to have food in the granary, but he wanted them to have food that they would have over and above that. Thus he encouraged them to plant more crops than usual, and when they were harvested he asked them to keep more food away for the dry season than they put in the granary for everyday use. When they sold their crops, he encouraged them to open up accounts in the local bank in the town so that they could save up their money. Not many people opted for this because the
town was quite a distance from the bank. They preferred to keep their money some place safe in their homesteads; like a small money granary.
The best part of everything in her village was when there was a celebratory feast. There was always lots of food to eat and all the village came together to celebrate. Parties were always fun. The people were spoilt for choice as to where to go. Whether it was the birth of a child or a wedding party, the celebrations was just as big and just as nice. There were sad times too, like when someone died. People cried and everyone was very unhappy. There was still a lot to eat, but the mood was not as nice. Achola remembers all these things like they have all happened the day before.
It was late in the night and they awoke to the sound of gun shots. People were screaming and there were lots of huts on fire. Achola and her brothers woke up and ran into their parents’ hut.
“Mama, what is happening?” a frightened Achola asked as she ran into her mother’s arms.
Her brothers were also terrified and they ran to where their mother was. Their father started to dress quickly. He wanted to go and find out what was happening to his village.
“Please be careful’’, her mother said as she held their children in her arms. They all huddled together to wait.
Just as he reached the door, her father heard footsteps and he stepped back towards his family and closed the door behind him. Not too long afterwards there was a loud bang on the door. The person on the other side was ordering them to open it. The chief stood back and gestured to his family to be quiet. He hoped that these intruders would leave. Instead the banging got louder, until they finally kicked the door in. A man came rushing in and he had a gun which he pointed at them. He ordered the chief to step outside. When the chief would not budge, the man turned to point the gun at Achola, her mother and brothers. He again insisted that the chief got out or he would kill him and his whole family. There were other men who entered and soon the whole hut was full of these violent strangers. They wore the same colour army uniform and had identical
scarves and bandanas tied across their foreheads instead of army caps. Most of them had dreadlocks.
Achola saw her father stand in front of the man and his gun as he tried to shield his family.
“Who are you people and what do you want?” he demanded to know.
“I am the one asking questions here!” the man shouted back at him.
As calmly as he could, her father continued to ask, “What is the meaning of all this?”
“Enough! Get out, NOW!” the man shouted even louder. He was getting an¬gry and he started walking toward her father as if to hit him with his gun. Acho¬la’s eldest brother ran forward to protect his father from harm. The man with the gun hit her brother on his head and he fell screaming, onto the floor. He had a deep cut on his head. He writhed for a while and then he closed his eyes slowly as he breathed his last. He was dead. There was a scuffle as her father ran to his dead son’s side. Her mother set Achola aside as fast as she could and ran towards her husband and son. The man with the gun then hit her father in the stomach and he fell over. Achola and her remaining two brothers stayed still and huddled together in the corner. If the wall could open up, they would have entered it. Achola closed her eyes. She thought that maybe if she did not see anything then it was not really happening.
“My child… you have killed my child”, she heard her mother wailing.
There was another loud gunshot. One of the men had shot into the roof to silence them. Her father was then dragged outside along with her two brothers. They fought and screamed the whole time. Achola was holding onto one of her brothers as they took him away. One of the men kicked her and she fell against the wall and she hit her head. That was the last that she could remember; she had blacked out.
Achola awoke to hear her mother crying as one of the men violently raped her. Achola sat up and crawled to the furthest corner in the room. She stayed there, crying and burying her face in her hands. When he was done ravishing her mother, the man began kicking her even though she begged him to stop.
“You thought you were untouchable, eh?” he said, even as he fastened his trousers and continued to kick her.
When her mother could cry no more, she rolled herself into a ball. The man spat on her and gave Achola a sly smile before leaving the hut. He was a young man that they knew from the village. Achola sniffed. She could smell smoke. The hut they were in was on fire! She ran to her mother, lifting her by her arms and dragged her from the hut. All around them the homestead was burning. The granary had already burnt to the ground.
The next morning everyone who had escaped the attacks gathered in an open space in the forest. They were now homeless and very frightened and hungry. Their homes had been burnt down and their domestic animals and poultry had been taken. Whatever they were wearing on their backs was all that they had left. The rebels were everywhere and no one was safe.
Now that they could not farm anymore, they had to depend on the free food that the relief trucks brought them. They did not have the luxury to pick what food they wanted to eat, in what amount or when they wanted to eat it. They tried planting vegetables at the entrance of the camp, but there was only so much that they could plant. For a people who had been used to owning vast pieces of land and large granaries filled with food, this was as good as death itself.
Achola is now 12 years old. Eight years have gone by since the war started. All she can think about now is her little brother and her mother. Her moth¬er gave birth after their father was taken away. When Orach was born, Achola heard the midwife tell her mother, “No matter what, he is still your child.”
She said that because Achola’s mother would not hold him after he was born.
Right now the rains are falling hard and even the little crop that some people have planted around the camp is rotting underground. The people are starving. The roads have been washed away and now it takes a long while before the trucks get to the camp. They tried to use helicopters to drop food but because most of the ground is covered in water, the food got wet and was spoiled. The trucks of food that were sent out were stuck on the bad roads for days. They could not
move forward or backwards. Medical supplies in the camps are running out and the growing number of illnesses is alarming.
Since her mother is too ill, Achola has to go all by herself to get food from the relief trucks. Their hut is at the end of the camp and the food is being served at the other end in an open field. Achola has to move fast now that the news of the trucks is spreading throughout the camp. The other people are also hurrying to get there early so that they can be among the first in queue.
Achola holds her containers as firmly as she possibly can and joins the other people along the way. It is a battle that can only be won by the fastest. There are so many people and they are all pushing and trying to run faster than those around them. Some people elbow others or trip them. In the commotion, Achola is hurt. She falls down twice and hurts her knee.
No one around her pays any attention and they all run past her, some of them jumping over her. Many a child has been known to be trampled to death in such a scuffle as this. Achola stays down for while so that she can compose herself. When she does get up, she cannot run as fast as she was running before. Her mother’s words echo in her head: “If you do not bring back food, we will all die of hunger. You must not fail, Achola.” Meanwhile, many people have now gathered at the serving point and the trucks have arrived and parked. There are security men keeping the people at bay and ordering them to get into a queue before they can be served.
The serving begins and the people at the front can already see that the food is little. In the past they got as much as a sack of beans and a sack of maize as well as a ten liter tin of oil. Now they are lucky if they are given a small bag of rice, a bag of flour, a bag of beans and a small tin of oil. This time, there are no tins of oil. There are small two liter bottles, a bag of flour and half a bag of beans. Some people start to complain. This food will not last very long.
Achola finally arrives and she finds that the queue is so long that she cannot even see the people serving the food. The sun has now come up and it is quite hot. Some people are seated on their containers because they are too weak to stand.
Agatha is in charge of the food distribution. She walks through the queues, looking at her watch and then at the people in the queues. Then she looks at the food in the trucks and back to the people in the lines. Each time that she looks at her watch, Agatha appears to be impatient, but when she looks at the food remaining and the number of people in the lines, the look of impatience turns to worry. The food will not be enough and the people are too many. There are people who will die of hunger.
Just then, there is commotion at the serving area. There is an old man at the front of the queue who refuses to leave even after he has been served his share. He is weak and frail and is asking for more food. The man serving tells him that they cannot give him any more food. The old man pleads, saying that his family is sick and they cannot come and queue up. It does not matter what the old man says after that, the serving man will not give him more. The policy is that they can only serve the people in queue. His family will have to come for themselves. If they gave everyone their family’s share then the food would have already been fin¬ished by now. There is so much pushing that the old man starts to get scared and moves away.
There is panic at the back of the queue where Achola is. Word is circulating that the food is finished. The crowd starts pushing toward the truck and the security men have to hold them back. Achola is worried; she is thinking about her moth¬er and her brother. The queue is getting shorter; there is hope that everyone will get some food even if there is not much left. The beans are finished now and people are getting only flour. Achola is even more worried now; her heart is beating very fast. There are only about twenty people in front of her. Surely she will get something to take home to her mother. At the very least she should get flour that she can use to make porridge.
The serving stops all of a sudden. There is no more food and the people are told to leave and go home. Agatha promises to be back soon with more food. “I will come back as soon as I can”, she tells them without even looking at them.
By now, Achola is realizing what is really happening and she starts to run after the truck. She is crying and mucus is flowing from her nose. The truck

slows down and Agatha sees Achola from her window. She gestures to her driver to increase speed. She does not look back except once, when she sees Achola on her knees, searching for any remains on the ground where the men were serving.
Achola is crying hysterically now. She can hardly see the few beans she is picking up. She has no food to take home. She is tired and depressed and afraid of going home. She stops at the swamp and sits. She looks around her, sees nothing but filth. Achola puts her head down. It is throbbing from the hot sun. She falls asleep and wakes when the sun is going down. She has to hurry back home. The government soldiers will be patrolling the camps and they do not like to see people walking about at night. They will not be happy with her and they have been known to lock up people who they think are spies, even if they happen to be little children.
She tries to run, but her knee is throbbing even worse than it before. She can only walk with a limp and it is a long while before she actually reaches the camp. Achola hears moaning, it is not uncommon to see people moan in the camps. Somebody dies almost every day. The moaning increases as she approaches her family’s hut. She freezes. She drops the empty container and runs inside. People have gathered around and the hut is full. Achola pushes past them.
She takes one look at the bundle of wrapped clothes in the middle of the room and she drops on her knees. Orach has died. Her mother sits motionless next to the body. She looks like she has been crying all day. Two women are sup¬porting her on either side. She looks up and sees Achola and holds out her hands to her. Achola walks straight into her mother’s arms and buries her head in her chest. She cannot help but cry.
“I am sorry,” Achola manages to say.
“Sshh,” her mother says.
“I failed, Mama, I have failed Orach.”
This time her mother does not answer. She is numb and she is staring at the bundle beside her. She is so weak that she can barely hold Achola in her arms anymore. The two women want her to rest and they take Achola away from her.
“We will bury him, you need to rest,” one of them tells her.
Achola still wants to remain with her mother, but the women will not let her. One of them gestures to another person in the crowd to come and take her away. Her mother lies down slowly. She is too weak to cry, but anyone can see that she is mourning inside.
In the camp, when someone dies, they do not hold long vigils because there is no food to feed everybody. So early the next day, Achola accompanies Orach to his final resting place along with a handful of other people from the camp. The burial ground is near the swamp at the edge of the camp; the place where she always goes to think. Her mother is too weak to go and bury Orach. Achola believes that the death of her brother has made her mother even weaker. Achola lets her tears flow freely as she sees them lower Orach into the small hole which is to be his grave. He has lost so much weight that he looks like a 4-year-old child. Achola buries her head in her palm.
The next few days are very slow. The villagers have contributed a small amount of food. . Sometimes her mother refuses to eat. She tells Achola that she is not hungry. Achola knows that this is not true. . She does not want to let her only remaining child die of hunger. Soon all they have left is porridge. They share one cup a day between the two of them. By now the people in the big city have begun to worry about the people in the camps. It is on the news on every single TV and radio station in the country. Even those people who did not ever care about the war in the North are moved when they see the starving people.
While everyone around her returns to their normal lives, Agatha is never the same again. She cannot get Achola out of her mind. Normally she is able to go to the camp and leave again without feeling a thing. She has never felt attached to anyone or let her emotions get in the way of her work. That day when she drove away from Achola has left her breaking inside. Seeing Achola on her knees scratching for food broke her heart. She knows that there is nothing that she could have done, yet she feels terrible. The whole journey back home she thought about that weeping girl on her bleeding knees.
Achola reminds her of her daughter who is about the same age. Seeing Achola¬
made her picture her own child begging for food. Agatha is worried that she will not find Achola alive the next time she goes to distribute food. She does not know whether there is still food in the stores to distribute anyway.
There is a rumor going around the camp that the trucks will be back with food. It is almost three days since Achola has eaten the last porridge and she can barely stand up straight. Instead, she crawls on all fours just to get around the hut. She sits in a corner and puts her head in her palm. She feels so faint, almost like she is floating on air. Her mother coughs and turns on her side. She is breathing heavily and all Achola can do is stare in her direction. Her mother coughs again and stretches herself out. She breathes her last.
Achola starts to cry. She cannot get rid of the lump in her throat. She is crying but no sound is coming out of her mouth. She starts to crawl slowly toward her mother. Her joints hurt. She cannot see clearly. The room is dark, but she knows that her mother is lying in the middle of the hut. She calls out to her; no answer. It is almost dawn and Achola can hear the sound of the trucks. She thinks she is dreaming. She has now reached her mother and she lies down next to her. She is cold. She slowly closes her eyes and puts her hands around her mother.
The trucks come to a stop and the food is off-loaded. This time there is enough food for everyone. The people are excited; they do not fight to be at the front of the queue. They just stand where they can and slowly move forward.
Agatha is amazed. She has never seen them this organized before.
The serving goes on peacefully. Achola is helped to the feeding area by an elderly woman. They walk slowly, Achola almost being dragged along. Achola reaches the truck and falls on her knees. Agatha runs towards her and catches her just as she is about to collapse. Achola takes one look at Agatha and smiles as she tries to talk. She says slowly, “I am on time today…” Then she closes her eyes and lies limp in Agatha’s arms.

 

Bio.

Achiro Patricia Olwoch hails from Gulu, in Northern Uganda. She has written four books to date and is in the process of self-publishing her first book, A War  Song. Achiro bases her writing on real life situations, but adds a twist of imag¬ination to each and every story. She writes because she would like to make a difference in her community through the different stories that she has to tell.
Achiro has also written for film and the stage. One of these plays was produced on a radio show in Los Angeles. She presently writes freelance for In Kampala online magazine and bspirit, the SN Brussels inflight magazine. Most recently, Achiro’s was nominated onto the International Women Playwright Conference’s management committee.

Wanderer’s Words

by  G. Edzordzi Agbozo

I
Ancestral Lords,
Dzatugbui’s maiden begotten son
Has joined the wander-boat too

Mother crocodile lured him
So toddler-crocodiles
massage his testicles

Cattle hoof cannot fit an antelope’s feet
Buffalo does not borrow snake’s dance-cloth

Let not, Let not
Dzatugbui’s maiden begotten son
Get stranded in this Sámi ice-mountain

II
Now I stand Looking through the glass window
Muttering
A calabash of cold water in hand
Pouring bits on the floor

This is a self-exile
That maims the deeper self
There is something in this journey
That takes the spirit away

The monkey is caught by hunter’s trap
But let not man fall to prey

Bio.
G. Edzordzi Agbozo is an MPhil English Linguistics and Language Acquisition student at NTNU. His poems appeared in Glass Warriors, (2012), Euphemism, Department of English, Illinois State University, USA (2012), Silent Voices, a poetic lifeline from Slavery to Love (2012), The Premier Magazine, Volumes 6 (2009), 7 (2010), 8 (2011), 10 (2013) and the Intercontinental Anthology of Poetry on Universal Peace (2014) among others. He also performed poetry at the vigil night of the state funeral of the late President J. E. Atta Mills of Ghana (2012) among many other public poetry performances throughout Ghana. He also won the University of Ghana Community Excellence Awards (Creative Arts Category) in 2012 and was named in the long list of the Ghana Poetry Prize 2013.