08 Jul Hostile Waters. Episode 5-Broken Pitcher
Akiwaju hitched up his trousers, and exchanged his shoes for bathroom slippers from the trunk of his van. He was visibly agitated. His hands trembled as he brushed away grass from his shirt.
“How large is the leak?”, He asked for the umpteenth time.
“It is as large as the heads of ten grown cows”, the nomad shepherd replied, looking sideways to keep an eye on his flock.
“Be careful when you get to the village beyond the river. Last night, the water washed away all the cocoa they left to dry on the mountains. The people are asking for your head”.
“Thank you. I must get there at once. We will get to the bottom of this”.
Akiwaju beckoned to Ranti to come along. The driver waited in the car.
“Ranti, what do you think I should do?”
“Sir, I’m confused too. The report we made at the Police Station should be enough for now. They will investigate. For now, we should think well. To achieve the right consistency, sir, the bean soup must be stirred”.
“Isn’t this your village?”
“Yes sir, it is. I grew up in Bomodeoku village, even though my ancestors are from here.”
“Good. We will go to the Baale’s house. You will introduce yourself by your family name. We need all the sympathy we can get right now.”
The previous day, the walls of the giant concrete tank had given way on one face of it. It had caused a small flood that washed away crops and drowned one villager.
It had taken months and millions of Naira in funds to get the project completed. Now, it seemed to be causing more pain than gain.
They both stood at the foot of the mountain and inspected the rent from afar. There was certainly no way it could have been due to vandalism. It was just too far away for a sane human being to brave. Akiwaju wondered whether the hands of a malevolent spirit were at work.
They headed to the Baale’s house, greeting indifferent villagers on the way. Akiwaju resisted introducing himself.
Women chattered in hushed tones, occasionally putting their hands on their heads. There was a Landrover there. The Baale seemed to have an important visitor. The young men directed Akiwaju in.
The lighting inside the room was poor as it was already evening and there was yet no electricity in Abeope village.
“You, you! Why are you just coming now?”
It was a near-shout. In the dim light of the Baale’s sitting room, Akiwaju recognized a familiar face.
It was Chief Kosoro.