Mwenana’s Story

Original fiction by Eva Fraser; underpaid stenography services by Papa

A nine year old girl wakes up in her usual pitch black boma hut. He name is Mwenana. Mwenana’s mom, Kelesi is already awake with her little brother, Nicane, boiling the water that Mwenana fetched yesterday from the well one mile away.

Kelesi told Mwenana and her brother to wake up their father so he could talk to the chief. Mwenana said sure but she wanted to know why her father needed to talk to the chief.

So the children woke up their father and Mwenana followed him to the chief’s hut, without making a sound.

It was Mwenana’s favourite house. She loved it so much because it had the coolest cooking pot. It was bigger than hers and it had colourful beads on it in the shape of a star. Mwenana put her ear to the clay hut and listened to what they were saying. It was a bit muffled but she heard the word school. That had been her dream for some long time after her friend Sahati, the chief’s daughter, went there. She would of course give away her brother to go to school!

The chief did not give the school money but he did give a cow each term to pay for his daughter’s schooling.

Mwenana was dreaming about school when she heard her name being called. “Mwenana, Mwenana.” It was her mother calling she figured. She ran to her house. Kelesi said, “Where have you been? I called your name three times. Next time, come the first time I call your name. I need you to take the cattle out to graze.”

“Sure mother,” said Mwenana. She liked herding the cattle because it was the only time she got to be alone, unless her brother came.

“Oh, and bring your brother, “ said Kelesi.

“Oh fine” , she said, but in her head she thought, why do I have to. “Come on Nicane, what’s taking you so long? “

“I need to find my herding stick,” replied Nicane.

When Mwenana and Nicane finally left (after Nicane took forever to find his stick) they started across the plain toward the next boma.

“We have been walking so long” , said Nicane.

“Fine , let’s turn around then, “ said Mwenana. When they got back to their boma they had been gone a long time, the sun was nearly setting and Kelesi was worried.

“Where have you two been?”

Mwenana replied, “We went to the next boma across the plain.”

“You two worried me because this is the time when the hyenas come out.”

“Sorry” , the children said at the same time.

“Go get tomorrow’s water please” , said Kelesi.

So Mwenana walked for another mile to go and get the water. When she returned she fell right to sleep. She didn’t even hear the elephant stampede one minute after!!

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