More on Akwaji (Oluwa in the book)


Akwaji - please come back again tomorrow for the end of the story.

There was the story, and I believed it. Maybe the smile helped me to believe, because I felt he had very little to smile about. There he was, just a boy with all his years before him. He was a leper, left with no one in the world to care whether he lived or died. He had been sent away from home without as much as a yam for his next meal. But the smile never left his face as he unfolded his story. Not once did he show any sign of animosity for those who sent him from his home. As I looked into his wide dark eyes, I knew that Akwaji had been a leper for a long time, perhaps since he was born. His body showed few of the tell-tale patches, but the white spot in the cornea of his eye showed that the disease had affected his sight. Akwaji was not only a leper - he was also blind.

Well, we took him into the Settlement, and he settled down as if he had been born there. He had one weakness - tobacco, and for a pipe full, he would entertain us to a song and dance. The song was mostly a chant made up by himself. It went like this: "Akwaji get no father, no mudder, Sista be father and mudder now. Akwaji get no tobacco, Sista bring tobacco now." This would go on and on. Then came the dance and finally a loud cry of "Bip!" finished the act. He soon became one of the characters of the Settlement. When he came to us he already knew that "God He dere" and he "savvied prayers small" (and recited them indeed at such a speed that only God Almighty could keep up with him). He began now to supplement this knowledge in the catechism class, learning about a Father and Mother whose love for him had surely led him to us.


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