Settling In

“Are you happy, Mheshimiwa John?”

“I am happy.”

“You are no longer a missionary. You have been living in our village for some time now.”

“Yes. I have put aside my missionary calling. I am not going back to America. I will abide with you.”

“The people of the village worry that you are not happy.”

“Why do they worry?”

“You come from a place of great cities, great wealth. The people of the village worry that our poor village is not worthy of you.”

“Your village is very worthy. I have left the great city and great wealth. It was not good for me.”

“The people do not understand this.”

“The bad spirits in the great cities are too powerful for me. They caused me temptation and worry and pain. I must have the simple life of the village, the quiet life of the village.”

“Aha. You are escaping certain bad spirits. I will explain to the villagers.”

“Yes, tell them that.”

“I have heard you speak of these bad spirits. They are told of in your Bible.”

“Yes, the Bible does mention them.”

“You wish to live like we live.”


“You must wear what we wear now. The villagers do not understand why you remain wrapped in those “trousers” and that “shirt” and “suit coat” and “tie.”

“Well, I… You folks don’t wear very much… Of course it’s very warm here… But I’d like to keep my pants, at least.”

“I think you should not wear the pants. They disturb the villagers.”

“Well, I’m a modest man… but I want to fit in… I just want to live a quiet, peaceful, contemplative life.”

“Listen, Mheshimiwa John. The village too has bad spirits, like the big cities do. These spirits prey on those who are alone. A person who wants to be alone is not trusted in this village. It is not the village way. If you are alone, you must be speaking with the bad spirits. In the village, no one is alone. We do not walk in the forest alone. We do not sleep in the night alone. You understand? The villagers worry that you walk in the woods alone and sleep alone and sit quietly alone.”

“Your bad spirits do not trouble me.”

“They trouble everyone. That is why there is sickness and accidents and death… There is talk also about how you do your business alone. You understand? If there is one time above all that you should not be alone, it is when you are doing your business. You must always have company when you do your business.”

“My gosh. That’s… I’ve already agreed to go without my trousers, but this…”

“The villagers also worry that you sleep alone and have taken no wives.”

“I do not need wives.”

“Every man needs wives. There are three women here without a husband. You must take them as your wives.”

“But I don’t want wives… I… I prefer… I mean…”

“Do not say that to any villager. It will trouble them very much. Tonight I will send you your three wives. Later you will agree on payment for them with their families.”

“My goodness. I can’t possibly have three wives. What am I going to do with three women in here?”

“They will do everything for you. They will cook for you and feed you. They will wash your clothes and they will wash you. They will go with you when you do your business. The one called Ghufira will give you many children.”

“My Lord.”

“Get her with child quickly. This will please the villagers. Hadhi is too old. Hadhi is a crone. Ijuma is too young. Ijuma has only six years. ”

“But I don’t… I can’t… It’s not… This is a moral dilemma for me. Living here is one thing. Marrying and fathering children is another… I can’t even speak to these women.”

“Speak to them? You do not need to speak to them. They will know. They will keep you safe from bad spirits. You must hit them every day.”

“Hit them?”

“They will not respect you if you do not hit them. They will think that you are weak. They will think that you do not like them. Their families will be unhappy. The village will be unhappy.”

“Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. I can’t even do my business in the big city unless I’m completely alone in my own… What am I going to do?”

“Do as I have told you. Never be out of sight of at least one of your wives. They will teach you with signs about the bad spirits of the village. They will rub your “sun-block lotion” on you. If all goes well, I will give you more wives and a slightly larger hut. Also, Abubakar has asked that you help with his medicine.”

“My head is spinning. I’m still a good Christian. As far as marriage is concerned, perhaps I can conduct the ceremony and marry myself to these women. I must consult the scriptures. But isn’t Abubakar the witch doctor?”

“He is the mganga. He has seen you cure with the little pills. He will teach you. You will teach him. You will learn to make the bad spirits obey you.”

“I’m going to have to pray about all this.”

“Just don’t pray alone, whatever you do.”

5 Responses

  1. Is this another one of your contest entries? You’ve got a flair for dialogue. You should take a crack at a script, I say…

    • yeah, i’m posting 8 dialogs i wrote for a contest, each <1,000 words.

      i'll send you the script and you can show it around for me.

  2. This is long overdue for you from me: I have nominated you for the ‘One Lovely Blog’ award.

  3. The road to you know where is paved with good intentions and no pants.

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