Excerpt from the manuscript of the author’s Book titled ‘Last Look’

Posted: May 5, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Books, Columnists, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Reech Mayen

By Samuel Reech Mayen, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

President Kiir's speeches after independence

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May 5, 2017 (SSB) — Since then, the fate of the boy is not known. Ayiikdit mourned the disappearance of his son bitterly.   He sacrificed cows, goats, sheep and even chickens to appease totems to bring back his son but all in vain. He spent sleepless nights hoping his son would return back calling from a distant for his father to open for him their warm hut. Unfortunately, nap would steal him and a horrible dream would corrupt all hope.

In a series of reoccurring dreams, he would see his son running away from ruthless Murle kidnappers but on reaching the middle of the bush, he got caught by hungry troop of lions. Some lions would thrust their claws in his belly and others dug their teeth in his throat. As the blood oozed through the cuts covering his smooth face, the boy would try to cry but only pushed out more blood through the open wounds.

Ayiikdit would try to rush with his spears to save the boy but he kept tripling and falling. He could not manage to rise again. At this point, he would give out a loud cry but his wife would wake him gently. He would sob for the rest of the night. These nightmares continued to derail him for many years.

However, Amer, the mother of the stolen child, though disturbed convinced herself that her son was alive. “My son is not dead. I am better than the women who have buried theirs.” She kept narrating the story she heard when she was a girl. “Murle does not kill children but used charms to confuse the stolen kids from tracing their villages.  My son would have come but he is being held back by the millipede grinded and mixed with his milk. It’s said when one eats millipede, he will be moving at a pace which cannot allow him to run away from the abductors. Its effect is only relieved on official trip.”

With this sentiment, she resisted the stress of the absence of her only son. Besides, her daughters were beautifully growing and two had already been married. With many bride price being paid to Ayiikdit on his daughters and the encouragement of his resilient wife, he gradually gained strength and back to normal.

His herd of cattle was increasing rapidly to the extent his fellow pastoralists complained they were over grazing pastures in the bushes. Though Ayiikdit did not have formal position of leadership in the clan as well as in the section, he moved with his head raised high in the air. He had good reputation. His wealth automatically placed him in a respectful position in the community.

One day in the season of autumn, the cattle-barn of Kuir-loth-makuei was being thatched. The women had fermented and squeezed wine in plenty. That day elders worked, conversed, laughed and drank wine to satisfaction. The people rested in turn under trees while others continued thatching the byre. One man who sat with a group under a neem behind the hut summoned Ayiikdit to join their group for a brief talk.

When he joined the group, he met a clairvoyant from a distant section of Gaweer-Naath from the north of the territory. He had just gulped the wine and had not yet wiped the foam which formed circular ring around his mouth. Diu, the clairvoyant struggled to stand up. He wiped his mouth and shook hand with Ayiikdit. They had met in several occasions long time back but never conversed. After exchanging greetings and asking about their families, the clairvoyant introduced the two men who came along with him, Kai and Mut also from Gawaar. Kai was coming to build the byre of Kuir. Mut was selling tobacco in a hide-bag hanged on a broken branch of the tree, probably for the potential customers to see.

Ayiik acknowledged he had heard about Kai exceptional skills in thatching. “Though I didn’t meet him but he built my maternal aunt’s byre. When I sheltered in that cattle-barn several years later, still there was no leaking. The downpour just hummed as water slide down from the top of the byre.” Kai was smiling at his praises.

 After this brief remark, Diu, the clairvoyant assured Ayiikdit that he saw his son in a vision. “He is being raised by a barren woman of Murle. Your son is alive only the woman nurturing him has made him hers.”

With silence, he stared at the bare ground between the hides they were sitting on. Other elders commended the good news. Ayiidit sighed and thanked him for the good news. “What I want is for my son to be alive wherever he is.” He remarked.

After some brief conversation and laughter on different topics, Ayiik pulled out money rolled in rags from his old gown pocket. This was the remnant of the money he sold an ox for buying girls jewelries. He covered it like a tithe with his two cupped hands as he rose to hand it to the clairvoyant. The oracle who was belching through the conversation first tried to reject the offer but all voices persuaded him. He also gave him some snuff.

That evening on his way home, Ayiikdit remembered his early youth age songs. Excited by the wine and the news that his son was at least alive somewhere, he sang. He recited his popular song in which he praised Chol-gut-gaar and Dut-majong-bil for sharpening the horns of his white bull and divinely inspired it to be brave.

When he arrived in his home, his daughter teased her mother to ululate in rhythm of her husband’s songs.  Amer who was lying on a papyrus-mat supported herself on the ground with her left elbow, stretched her right arm and slapped her daughter’s cheek lightly. She yelled at her to quickly bring out his father’s sitting hide instead of cheeky jokes.

His wife was not certain whether Ayiikdit was brushing aside the worries of his son or getting insane. She was answered in a conversation which later followed.

(This is an excerpt from the author’s Book titled ‘Last Look’ which can be published anytime from now). The author can be reached at: mayenreech@gmail.com or +256 775 448 755

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

  1. Emmanuel Ariech says:

    Great excerpt from “Last Look” ! I will be on waiting to grab a copy and a book characterized by mournful sentiments and realities of the life we are living in this South Sudan. However, l spotted an iota from the last scripts of the firth paragraph, ” he gradually gained strength and back to normal”(normalcy). Otherwise, it is truely “a writer on writing-George Orwell” I honoured u! explicit writer SRM.


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