The Outcast – Episode 26
Written by Amah
“let us unite together, Mbazi is at war with our Pah, because of this, take off all this ugly facial covering, is not fair for us here, we walk around you, we harvest crops from your soil, we eat the fruit of this land, we eat animals caught in your traps, we live in a hut just like yours, we speak the same language, we are human with flesh and blood just like you, because you are tagged an outcast, because you are tagged as forbidden doesn’t mean you should be acting like one, show the world that you are not different from them, I have live among you far more before my brother Mbazi came to join me, he took up the fight after he saw that there was no difference between the outcast and our tribe, we were all told a scary stories to keep far away from you, a story that spoilt most of our childhood, some of us still live in fear of the outcast because of what we were told, right from time I had this connection with the outcast, despite my Pah saved me from being condemned to death as an infant because I was tagged as an outcast, after the whole thing was abolish, I grew up resenting myself, I hard stories, bad stories of outcast, and how terrifying they are, we were all warned almost everyday to keep away from their path, even mentioning the name “outcast” was forbidden in our tribe, my Pah was one of those who sounded the warning to the public, he warns everyone and threaten anybody who dares defy his order, my Pah was a powerful man, he has never broken a law before, but he did it for me and promise never to do it again, he was suppose to live by example, but he couldn’t just leave me there to be devoured by ugly creatures, he fought and saved me, I know he will probably be disappointed for fighting so hard and yet I never made him proud, I grew up having different nightmare, something or somebody was calling me from the outcast, I don’t know what it was, sometime I walk round the wood close to the outcast boundary wondering how this other side will look like, something in me tells me that the stories were never true, I understand even more after I was told the history of my birth, I was helpless, I was just a child, I know neither good or evil and yet I was tagged an outcast, I could have being so gone by now, and become just a memory for my people, I was only being unfortunate at that time, I just thought same thing is applicable to almost all of you here, you were tagged a forbidden soul just because of the selfishness of men or because of some unreasonable thing that don’t suppose to be, I was inquisitive while growing up, nobody was willing to answer my question about the outcast because everybody was afraid.
I decided to find out myself by defying my Pah’s constant warning, on my first time here, some of you by the tree scared the hell out of me, but I chose to be courageous, the men by the trap boundary warned me never to return, I was more willing to return because I found out two things that day, the outcast actually speak a normal word and they don’t communicate with sign like we were meant to belive, and the second thing is that they are kind enough to show me right path to go just to avoid being seen, I followed the rafiko way and I wasn’t seen, I told Mbazi everything and even asked him to follow me but because of the fear of Pah and other things he couldn’t, and when I returned back here again, I knew I wasn’t going back to my tribe so soon, you all tried to convince me to return but I refuse, I was at the boundary for almost two days before you decided to show me a way down to your clan and gave me a scared hut to stay far from yours, so that I won’t be contaminated and until I decide to go back to my tribe, you wanted me to be safe from everything you touch, you all covered up your faces and avoid direct contact with me, forgoten that I live in your land, I eat the same kind of food that you eat, water is gotten from this same land, how other contaminated do I need to be again for you to understand am already part of you, Ladi was always bringing animal caught in his trap, he will leave it at my door step and disappear, he brings vegetable and other things, and one day I begged him to stay and he did, he stayed and that was how our friendship started, and I came to realize there was pain behind every voice here, everyone here has a story, some are difficult to tell because it takes you down memory lane, it makes you remember things you are trying to forget, I hear your pain in your voices despite I don’t see all your eyes, I understand what it is to be chase out and called forbidden by your own people, or to be separated from the same people you care so much for, it was with time most of you started getting comfortable and come around to give me either fruits or vegetable or even things caught in your traps, you allocated land behind my hut just for me to have something doing so that I won’t be bored, to gave me different crops to plant in it, the gods has richly blessed your land, even the gods saw how kind your heart is, and decided to bless you, despite being an outcast you keep prospering, your crops are doing so well, no sickness in your land because you discovered different things through herbs and leaf to keep sickness away, what my people have not being able to do till now, and despite all this blessings from the gods you are still acting as an outcast just because you felt unworthy of yourself, how can you still be acting like a forbidden soul with people who sees you differently, how can you still be on that facial mask, avoiding contacts with people who are ready to embrace you, that is pure foolishness, I didn’t feel less human living in your midst, In truth I feel more human than I can ever be.
Mbazi decided to speak to our Pah who is a tribe leader, he received bows and beating for it, and yet he never gave up, my Pah has high hopes for him as a fist son and his next inline, Pah has being guiding and teaching him right from when he was a kid till he grew to be a man, do you understand the disappointment or the pain my father will feel knowing that all his constant teaching will go down the drain because Mbazi chose the outcast over his own tribe, we are trying to prove to you all that you worth all the trouble, you worth it because you didn’t chose to be here, life chose you wrongly, and we are ready to live and multiply here until something is done, even if nothing happens we don’t have regrets and will never blame anyone here, I was suppose to be married by now and even have kids, it was during my marriage ceremony I escaped, Mbazi was suppose to be married to the woman Pah picked for him, but we all left such luxury and well planned life to be here, I fell in love with a man behind the mask, Ladi, his voice was all I needed to hear and I will be aright, it took me almost a year for me to know what he looks like, and when I saw him, I wish everyone from my tribe could see that the little Ladi that was cast off at a very tender age has grown into a good looking man.
Mbazi started loving Kumar right from the first day she walked him down, he love her then and still love her now, he loved her even with her scares, Kumar could have being a forgotten soul but the gods was with her, is still very difficult for her to say yes to my brother which is very understandable, I know she will eventually, because true love break boundary and cast out fear, my twin brother, Mukeh is here today with us, he wants justice for everyone here even the beautiful lady Marie is here today because she want to join hand to fight injustice, she don’t want any of her unborn children to be tagged a forbidden in the furture, the two men that came in yesterday, are men from the night watch, they want to come and see for themselves too, and I know more are still coming just with time….. this a kakun night I chose to speak and not be quiet, this kakun night is a night you all chose to retell your stories, those who can still do that, a kakun night is filled with memories of the past, I watch every kakun night, the dance around the fire place, the constant beating of the drum, your sad songs, everything is just repetition, let’s have other things added to kakun night, not just the sad stories, let our celebration here be full, not after the dance and singing then the sad retold stories and everyone goes off to their different hut with sadness, please brother, sisters, fathers, mothers and children lets change our ritual to festival of joy, I’m happy that my brothers and friends from our tribe are here for this kakun night, let us stop living our life as if there is no hope tomorrow, we don’t care about your scars or we don’t care if we become like you, we are already like you, I wanted this kakun night to be different that was why I choose to come out of my shell to speak, drop down your mask, let us live and forget what sorrow feels like, because even in sadness the soul withers, happiness brings back life to a withered heart, happiness is like the sun light that brighten up our day, I speak on behalf of those who can’t, I speak not just for myself, I speak for my brother Mbazi who has being so trouble from the moment he stepped his feet here, all he wanted is for all of us here to be liberated, and you all can’t keep covering your faces and making us look like a god before you, we are all the same, no difference between you and I, I and Ladi has presented ourselves for the approval of the elders, to permit us to get married and live as couple, I have live among you far too long to still be considered special than anyone, I plead with you all to grant me this to freely be with the man I love, and allowing Ladi to feel worthy of me, I will love and respect him as a wife will do to her husband, we will bear children as the gods pleases and grow old together, we will look back someday to this day and smile knowing well our stories made the difference, all our stories will pave way for us all, we will not be an outcast forever, it may not be in my generation, it may be our unborn children who will take up the mantle and lead the outcast out of this place, but whoever the gods chose I will be glad because is what we have anticipated for, I didn’t just come here to see those ugly facial mask on your faces, I didn’t come here to dine or eat vegetable, herbs or bush animals, the gods brought me here for a good purpose they brought Mbazi too for same thing, with the help of the gods we will achieve all that they place in our heart, but we can’t achieve all without your help, we need everyone to corporate and act like we are more special than the people who pushed us off, act as if you are more chosen they are, let them hunger to be here, let them regrets for ever treating you the way they did, let’s beat our drum and sing our song and tell our sweet stories so loud that even the dead will hear, let’s do this, live love and celebrate, keep away anything that makes you sad and let us create reason’s to smile, renovate this land, plant flowers, decorate everywhere, clear the bushes, cut down the trees, wear fine cloths, learn how to smile more, for all humanity belong to the gods who made the land were we cultivate and live, let us bring back live to the withered heart, I want everybody here to chorused it with me loudly so that even the sleeping birds will sing along, “bringing life to a withered heart” everybody say it…
“Bringing life to a withered heart!! Bringing life to a withered heart!!! Bringing life to a withered heart!!!!….
I watch as Zila talk with so much strength and authority, she was filled with power I never thought she had as she address the gathered crowd, the whole place was silent, everyone include children listened and they all chorused “bringing life to a withered heart” I watch them chorused, the big the small and the mighty among them and suddenly, as if she cast spell on them, they started pulling off their mask, they removed their facial mask and put it at the centre of the gathering, faces I have not seeing before was revealed, fine young men and beautiful maiden, old and young faces was shining through the fire set all around, the only face I have seeing in the outcast before now was Kumar, but on this kakun night, it was truly a night with a different, a night to remember, after they piled up their facial mask together, the elders commanded the youth to set it ablaze, as they set it on fire they shouted in harmony as the mask burn to ashes, I was speechless as a tear drop, looking into their fine faces that have being saddened with so much pain got lightened up just by a mare word by Zila, was something I never thought will happen so fast,
When Zila told me she was going to talk to the gathering in the kakun night, I thought it was a ordinary talk, I never expected what happened, she took over the crowd, and held them down under her gaze and word, they listened to her as if she was a voice from the gods, she totally transfixed everyone, Zila has the gods ear, and they listened to her,
For this purpose she was called to this land, and I will join hands with her to see that everyone here live there live as if it matters more than those who cast them off,
I said is a new dawn, another new beginning, the day has broken, the sun has set, this was the third day after the kakun night, the elders approve of the union between us and their people, they agreed on this day to work like a community to make their clan better, as I stood outside watching people go about their activities, some were clearing the bush path, creating more foot paths, some were cutting trees, renovation was totally going on, others were planting flowers, Zila, Marie, Kumar and other young men and women were among the people planting flowers, everybody was doing one thing or the other, I can see the mothers cooking a big pot on fire for the workers, it smells delicious, we all are the workers, because me walking around and giving you details as the event unfold is a big work, I will eat very well when everyone is called for food,
the two men from my tribe that recently came to join us were helping out in the clan renovation, Mukeh must be somewhere, I didn’t see Mukeh at first until I walked to the water fall path I saw him flinging his cutlass up and down with the other young men, clearing the bush path, lots of activity has is going on, and the elderly men among them just walk round, not having much to do, they smile and talk to themselves as everything around them looks normal, normal like were humans lives not were the outcast lives,
I walked back to the maiden who were using flower to decorate the whole place, seeing most of their faces for the first time makes me happy, they shyly looked at me, and I bow in greeting and smile, I like seeing all this maidens, especially this ones with beautiful eyes, well don’t blame me I just like being around beautiful people, admiring the good work of the gods, I wondered how they feel comfortable covering their faces from year to year, I thank the gods for giving Zila the power to speak sense into them, I love my Kumar, even if her face was covered up I would have still love her, she is not as beautiful as most maiden I have seen and yet she is more beautiful to me than thousands of maiden put together, and I will chose her all over again if I have to,
I saw Kumar and Zila but I didn’t see Marie again with them, I searched through the place, scanning with my eyes, and later saw her at one corner with a tall young man, the young handsome man was cutting down a tree branch while she was telling him a story and holding flower in one hand, I watch as he will pause and laugh before he continued cutting the branches, they were both having fun, talking and working, I know Marie, she always go for what she want, she easily makes friends and she is doing exactly that, making friends and feeling very comfortable, forgetting there’s another place called home aside here, I know her parents will be so worried when they notice she has gone missing, they know where to find her if they really miss her,
Everyone deserve to be happy, we all at the outcast want to live today as if it mattered most
As I walk back I saw Kumar and Zila talking and laughing at something, I went close, Zila on seeing me smile while Kumar looked up at me before coming to me
“today is looking more beautiful than all the years I have live here, you and your sister are sent from the gods, thank you Mbazi, you people are bringing a new light to this place, we are happy and even the elders are walking around without their face mask, look at the women, cooking talking and laughing, the young men and women are allowing a cool air to grace their face finally after so much of hiding, I’m glad.
“so…can you love a man like me, and walk with me forever lets do greater things together kumar…you are more beautiful to me, more open and accommodating, I can’t find joy with any maiden except you… my heart beat for only you Kumar and I will love to grow old with you…let us live and let our happiness rule…Kumar please accept me and love me like I am…I promise to protect and make you happy for the rest of our lives…
“Mbazi…you can make even a harden woman like me blush…I thought I was thick skinned until I saw you on that first day, I have like you and was glad you spoke to me that day on the path to the water fall, who wouldn’t love a man like you…who will say no to a sweet handsome man like you that can make my leg shake just by your mare look, it will be my delight Mbazi, I will be so bless by the gods to have a good man like you as my husband, and spending a life time with you will be so fulfilling, I’m honoured and blessed to have you pick interest in me, I’m filled with scars and so plain compared to Marie the lady you turned down for me, thank you and may the gods bless you for your kindness and for loving somebody like me.
“Food is ready for all”, the women by the big cooking pot shouted,
well I haven’t had much to do, I thought of asking Kumar to teach me how to climb so that I can cut down branches, but I know she won’t, well just in case she said no I will pick a lighter work which is joining the two men from my tribe and few others to renovate, after which I will go and cut bushes like Mukeh, Ladi and the rest are doing,
I want Kumar to see that I’m not lazy, I can do everything, I definitely know she will laugh when I start cutting the bushes, but I will make her happy and proud,
We all trooped down for our own share of food,
everyone was eating as if is one mother that birth us all,we gathered together like one family,
Marie and same young man sat at one corner as they ate, Ladi and Zila, me and my Kumar,
this day is truly beautiful and I will forever be grateful to be among this great people,
There are more to come, but whatever that comes we are fully ready…because in unity we can conquer any barrier.
To be continued