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Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Arrival of Ikemefuna in My Family



         Ikemefuna was a fifteen-year-old boy from a neighbouring clan, Mbaino. I remembered vividly that it was on Monday. My father, Okonkwo returned home with a lad of a young virgin after two days in Mbaino. And Ikemefuna was the lad my father brought back. He was given to our clan, Umofia as a sacrifice for killing one of the women of Umofia. Okonkwo as the leader of our clan was asked to look after Ikemefuna in the interim before his fate was decided. That time, I was so afraid of a new person going to appear and live together with us in my house.

            My mother was being told to look after Ikemefuna by Okonkwo when Ikemefuna was brought home. His arrival was surprising us and questions were not allowed to be asked. When he was taken to my mom’s hut, I could see beads of cold sweat all over his body. His face was as pale as a sheet. I knew that he was terribly afraid. In my heart, I felt pity of him although his existence made me feel very much uneasy. Perhaps he could not understand what was happening to him or what he had done that caused him to be taken here, away from his clan. How could he know that his father had taken a hand in killing a daughter of my clan? The feeling of not knowing anything and been taken out from house, then handed over to a stranger is not something that I can imagine and understand.


            Ikemefuna was so afraid at first. He spoke nothing but "when shall I go home?" Whenever i heard him saying so, my tears would course down my cheeks. Once or twice he tried to run away but it is understandable as I would do the same if I were him. How suffer it is to be apart from his family. He even lost his appetite in eating. I really didn’t know what I could do for him seeing him suffered like this. But my family treat him just like he is one of our family members. My mother is very kind to him and treated him as one of her own children. I saw my mother taking care after Ikemefuna for three weeks when he was sick and when he recovered, he seemed to have overcome his great fear and sadness. I felt relieved to see Ikemefuna without his trembling and fear. I didn’t know why I feel so to him. The strange feeling of wanting to be close with him came into my mind from nowhere. I just could not bear to see him alone. 

           I hope I can be his friend here in Umofia. But what would my father say about me if I tried to befriend him? 

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