Posts Tagged ‘meningitis’

MENINGITIS


We expected the rain for different reasons this year; usually it’s because of lack of water. The world is like a gourd; half filled with water, it is tipped on its side. We reside on the side where the water is leaning away from thus when we dig a well; we have to reach almost to the end of the world to get water. It gets worse when the rains refuse to come. When there is no water, the cows become lean and the crops refuse to grow.

This year, the baobab and guinea corn in the store could still sustain us for a year and the cows could still survive on streams turned puddles. However, the disease has come with terrible strength. It has killed a lot of children and some adults; we know it is only the rain that usually stops its rage. It killed Aminu my immediate junior one, only thirteen! The adults say the last time it got this angry was ten years ago, then I was still a little girl. They say I was lucky to escape the decimation. Nobody knows the cause, but my mother once said something while scolding me for not fetching water; “you little rat, only fifteen, you have refused to obey your mother. God punishes disobedience with meningitis!”It is a terrible punishment indeed; I think somebody needs to speak to God. The disease makes them so hot and makes their necks stiff, they cannot say yes or no, it takes away their choices. Our village doctor at our little hospital tried but people still died; maybe God does not really hear his voice!

Haruna lost two children to the disease. He is the one who has asked for my hand in marriage. I overheard him telling my father that he will come for me after the rains; he surely needs the money from the harvest for the marriage. That is my own little reason for waiting for the rains. I have become the envy of every little girl in the village. They all know about the impending marriage now even though I told only one of them, my best friend.

The coming of the baturi(white people) made a difference though. They came with some black friends, they all seemed very happy together; like they had known one another for ages. They brought drugs to treat the ill victims together with injections which they gave everybody to stop the spread of the scourge. Their coming also created excitement in the village. All the little children gathered around them, not me, I’m old now. Sometimes however, I move closer to observe them. They seem to speak through their noses, I noticed that some of them were speaking to each other and could not understand themselves.  Are they not from the same place? They are a strange lot, these white ones with skin like pap and hair like horsetail! I did not take the injection though, if it passes from person to person, I nursed Aminu throughout his illness, what about ten years ago? I guess God is afraid of punishing me in spite of my many sins. Anyway, the white man can surely talk to God, perhaps their black friends too. The disease lost its power when they came with their injections.

The rain is falling now, heavily, seems like cats and dogs. If we cannot speak with Him, I think God really wants to talk to us now!