ACT iii, SCENE iii UDO: Mama is sitting with her chin resting on her palm, worrying for another day. Mama, what do we do now? Let us go to my father’s people please. CHISALE: No!
ACT iii, SCENE iii
UDO: Mama is sitting with her chin resting on her palm, worrying for another day. Mama, what do we do now? Let us go to my father’s people please.
CHISALE: No! They might throw me into the river that is what they wanted to do to us. I had to escape to my father’s people.
UDO: It has been many farming seasons, since I was still a child. They might help us now, look at me I will soon be a woman and fetch them good bride price.
UDO: Mama viko, please!
CHISALE:(Shouting.) This child leave me alone. No! I am not going to your wicked father’s people. I rather go and beg Urie for some garri to sip than go to your people. (A tear falls out of her eyes.) I have finally become a dog, I want to go and beg Urie, I want to go and eat my own feces. Oh!
UDO:(Begins to cry.) My father’s people are wicked, yes they are wicked. Everybody is wicked even your father’s people. I am leaving. I am running to my people.
(Udo speeds into the hut, Chisale follows her screaming.)
CHISALE: Udo, you are going nowhere. Stupid child. Owu, goat. You will not disobey me!
(Udo dash out again with a wrapper of clothes only to open her mouth in surprise to the people in her compound. Paa Chukwuma and some guards bearing a keg of palm wine, a bottle of palm oil, a bunch of plantain, baskets of yams, wrappers and coral beads.)
UDO: Mama! Mama!
(Enter Chisale from the hut, she stares at her visitors in astonishment.)
CHISALE: Chim o. Let us go and greet them.
(They rush to Paa Chukwuma and bend before him.)
UDO & CHISALE: Paa Chukwuma, he who holds wealth. We greet you.
CHUKWUMA: Thank you my people. Rise!
(Udo and her mother rise, smiling too much.)
CHUKWUMA: I have come to notice the sweet orange that you have with you.
CHISALE:(Smiling.) I hear, Paa Chukwuma…eh…..your intention is good but eh…eh…Udo is not yet a grown woman. She has eh….eh not started to be a woman. It will be difficult for you to enjoy her as a wife….eh
CHUKWUMA: You have gotten it wrong Chisa, so many maidens from other villages come to sing and rub my feet. They are my goddesses. I have come to take Udo as my friend, not a wife, oh? I know that she is still a child.
CHISALE; Hah! Paa Chukwuma all these things just to make Udo into your friend? Eh? Chim o.
CHUKWUMA: Your daughter is beautiful, she is fit to stay on my feet all day. She will be well fed and you will lack nothing.
CHISALE: Thank you Paa Chukwuma. I have heard of two maidens that remained your goddess till they married and their husbands still found them good. Chei! It is good. (To Udo.) Udo send the yams inside, esor, quick quick.
ACT iii, SCENE iv
UDO: Mama is dancing with me in the open compound. See beautiful beads, chei. Mama I shall be dressing like the daughter of a Chief.
CHISALE:(Jiggling her waist.) Owe o…..yes. Kpoi kpoi igere ya
Kpoi kpoi igere ya
igweru nworgi kporte nhe
kpoi kpoi igere ya
UDO: When am I going to his home?
CHISALE: Taah! My enemies eat shit! The granddaughter of Odenigbo is alive. I am alive!
UDO: Mama stop calling those ancestors again, they might send evil to this our good luck.
CHISALE: Close your mouth! Meshionu, owu. What do you know? Keep quiet and dance with me.
(They dance around clapping and singing.)
UDO: Mama when am I going?
CHISALE: They will come back when he wants. You might not live with him but in some cases, since he is very wealthy, he might build you your own hut.
UDO: Hmmmm! I do not want to leave you.
CHISALE: You are not leaving me, is it not the same clan?
UDO: Hmmm Mama, I will not like to live with him. Let me quickly send everything inside, I want to go to Dinma.
CHISALE: Which Dinma? Urie’s daughter? Has dogs licked your eyes? Do not go anywhere.
UDO: Viko, please Mama. I shall not tell her. Let me just go to the stream with her.
ACT iii, SCENE v
UDO: At the stream, Dinma sit with me on a fallen tree. I know that I must find you at the stream when the shadows are becoming short.
DINMA:(Laughing.)Look at you! We have been friends for long, I know many things about you too. Is your mother well?
UDO: Yes, she did not want me to see you again because of your mother.
DINMA: Zorme, sorry, oh?
UDO: It is not your making. (Suddenly smiling.)
DINMA: Udo! You are smiling eh? What is that smile?
UDO:(Laughing to herself.) Nothing!
(Enter two maidens with their pots.)
NCHELEM: Dinma what are you doing with Udo again? Your mother must hear this.
DINMA: Parrot! Okoko you do not have farms to weed before you talk everywhere.
NCHELEM: Eh? You insult me. I must tell her.
UDO: Please Nchelem, I have not wronged you before, please do not tell her, I don’t want her to beat my friend please. See, I am going on my own please. (She picks up her pot and starts filling it with water.)
DINMA: Udo do not answer Nchelem, you know she talks a lot.
UDO: No! It is because of you that I fear. Your mother will beat you badly again.
DINMA: I am not running from her beating. This stupid Nchelem, I must catch her.
MAYA: Catch her now that she is with me. Stubborn goat, you will not listen to your mother and stay away from Udo until bad luck visits you.
NCHELEM: She said she does not fear her mother, we shall see.
DINMA: Go and tell her okoko, Maya it is you and your household that bad luck will visit every day, ma osi ma ehie ma izi avali, from morning till night, every day.
UDO:(Helping her water pot to her head.) Ohale, it is enough. I am leaving now please. Dinma go home quickly. Nchelem greet your people.
NCHELEM: Tufia! Your greeting is cursed.
ACT iii, SCENE vi
UDO: As I sweep the open compound, My voice echo new songs that Mama sings to me every day for Paa Chukwuma.
Neh huru Paa Chukwuma kela weh, any one that sees Chukwuma
Okela weh, thank him
Chukwuma vugwu awai, he is he who holds wealth
Okela weh, thank him
Ovu ne oma, he is a good person
Okela weh, thank him
(Paa Chukwuma peers into the diabolic clay pot in front of Wagbara’s shrine, smiling and nodding with her.)
CHUKWUMA: She even sings well.
WAGBARA: She is good and she will grow into a woman that will not need any other man but you.
CHUKWUMA: Hmmmm, that is good. Udo, her name is Udo and I believe her voice will bring me peace.
WAGBARA:(Incantates for a while.) Hmmm! Hmmmm! Wagbara is seeing, Wagbara is seeing what is true. She has another chi following her.
CHUKWUMA: Will that be a problem?
WAGBARA: Yes! Drop her. Do not bring her close anymore.
CHUKWUMA: I have already made my intentions known. What do you mean by she has another chi. How can one human have two personal gods?
WAGBARA: No! It is the chi of a kinsman. She is made together with a kinsman from your clan.
CHUKWUMA: Hmmm! Who?
WAGBARA:(Incantates again.) Hai! A snake that bites a calabash bites in vain. Zenu, Zenu the son of Ihua.
CHUKWUMA: Ihua is a drunkard that is nothing to this village.
WAGBARA: The son of a drunkard. Hmmm! I know what to do.
CHUKWUMA:(Happily.)Thank you Wagbara. You are the last of the strongest goddesses.
WAGBARA:(Nodding.) It is done! It is done but do not forget your sacrifices Chukwuma! Chukwuma son of Aziza do not forget your sacrifice!
ACT iv, SCENE i
UDO: Dinma walk a foot path with me leading to my home. You know that I have always been happy with what the gods are wishing.
DINMA:(Smiling.) True. Chei! See my friend, I am so happy for you and I pray that my mother starts being friends with your mother again.
UDO: Iiyaaah! That is what I am praying to our gods for, peace and festivals so that we can sing and dance….
DINMA: And drink palm wine…..
(They laugh aloud almost running into each other.)
UDO: I am going to see Mama, after spending two nights in my hut at Paa Chukwuma’s large compound.
DINMA: I know it is really large. How does his household behave?
UDO: They are not biting. Three of his sons also live there with their wives and children. Four of his sons are kinsmen that will want to marry soon.
DINMA: Hei! Udo I shall visit you more often.
UDO:(Chuckling.) Look at you, your waist is calling a kinsman; it has not been long since we became women. Wait till the next farming season.
DINMA: Ozo o, No! I need to have my own huts and wrappers and start bearing children soon, my breasts are now heavy.
(They laugh again. Nchelem and two other maidens pass them, talking.)
NCHELEM: Hmmm! How come good things happen to evil children? That evil child Udo now behaves like a goddess.
MAYA:(Clapping her hands.) I have really seen history. Who will ever think that Udo will be a goddess?
OMAM: True! She is really a goddess, any maiden who serves Paa Chukwuma naturally becomes a goddess raised in good behaviour and wealth.
NCHELEM: Close your mouth, I said she behaves like a goddess, Udo can never be a goddess, that evil child from a cursed family.
MAYA: Nchelem stop this your personal madness, let us better start praying to Eli our gods that we find favour in Paa Chukwuma’s eyes very soon.
Read the first Acts here