CHAPTER 1(FATHER GOES AWAY)
Aku-nna turned the key and pushed open the door of her family’s one-room apartment in Lagos,Nigeria.Aku-nna and her brother Nna-nndo were surprised too see their father at home. Because it was work time,he should be at work.Their mother went on a journey to Ibuza to ask the river goddess to send her a baby.Their father was very sad at this night.And children were trying to understand why.Her father spoke and said he was going to hospital for a check-up. Because he had a painful foot.It is an effect of the war.It was swelling up everytime but their father was very sad this time.Aku-nna made him a hot soup and yams.He ate them.He smiled his children.He said them:”Always remember that you are mine”.He was speaking as he would never return again.Children watched their father going.They began to feel hungry and decided to go in and eat something.
CHAPTER 2 (A DEATH IN THE FAMILY)
The evening meal was ready but their father Ezekiel didn’t come.She sat on the veranda watching outside.Then she saw Uncle Uche and Uncle Joseph.Ezekiel didn’t like them.They told Aku-nna that her father wouldn’t come this evening.
Three weeks went by but Ezekiel didn’t return to home.Aku-nna missed both of his parents.In the morning Aku-nna went to the kitchen where all people were cooking their meals.But there everybody were behaving her different.Dick,one of the houseboys,wasn’t kind her but that day he was very kind.Aunt Uzo came to kitchen she was very sad as everbody.Aku-nna understood that they have lost their father.Nna-nndo said they have lost their father but Aku-na said they have lost everthing.In Nigeria a fatherless family is a family without a head.Because your mother is only a woman.
CHAPTER 3 (THE FUNERAL)
Most ceremonies in Nigeria combine European customs with native ones.Ezekiel Odia himself was a Christian and a church-goager,but he always called in a native medicine man when he wanted one.Ezekiel’s funeral was like that too,with both native and Christian ceremonies.
In the funeral everybody cried.Because death will come to everybody.So they
cried for themselves too.Aku-nna and Nna-nndo cried for their fathers.They didn’t call their mother from Ibuza.After long mournings they buried their father.Aku-nna took her brother’s hand and they walked together out of the graveyard.
CHAPTER 4(THE JOURNEY TO IBUZA)
After they father died they moved to Ibuza from Lagos.After a long journey they arrived Ibuza.According to traditions in Nigeria,Aku-nna’s mother,Ma blackie,would be married to Ezekiel’s brother,Okonkwo.Aku-nna greeted her cousin-or his half-sister-,Ogugua.According to another tradition Ma Blackie had to stay in a hut for nine full moons and mourn for her death husband.During this period she wasn’t allowed to leave the hut or have a bath.
Ma Blackie finished his mourning and she became Okonkwo’s fourth wife. Okonkwo was planning to be the chief.For this he needed money.He was planning to get this money from Aku-nna’s and Ogugua’s bride prices.
Okonkwo’s first wife,Ngbeke,was jealous of Ma Blackie.Because she wasn’t obeying her and she was proud and intelligent.
At the same time in the school Aku-nna was becoming very special to the teacher, Chike Ofulue.But Chike was the son of a slave and surely nobody would approve this love.Because according to traditions the son of a slave family can’t marry to the daughter of a free family.
CHAPTER 6(THE SLAVES)
Chike’s father called him for a talk and warned him about Aku-nna.He wanted Chike to leave Aku-nna alone.They say that forbidden fruit tastes sweet.Because Aku-nna was forbidden,Chide wanted her more than ever.
The day after this meeting in the school Aku-nna was very unhappy.She didn’t answer any questions.Chike let her to go out.After the bell rang,Chike went to Aku-nna’s near.He noticed that there was blood on her dress.They thought she injured herself.But soon they understood Aku-nna became a real woman.Aku-nna wanted Chike to keep this secret. Because if Okonkwo learnt this he would make Aku-nna to marry.Aku-nna went to home. Chike came after some time.He kissed her,Aku-nna wanted him to marry her.But Chike thought that was impossible.Ma Blackie came from shopping.They said her Aku-nna had a terrible headache.Chike gave Ma Blackie some headache tablets.Then he returned to his own house.
CHAPTER 7(ONE OF THE GIRLS)
Chike’s father warned Chike several times about Aku-nna.But Chike said he would marry to her.And his father said when she became a woman he would go to her family and ask for her.Chike told this news to Aku-nna and promised to come her hut in three days’ time.
Three days later Chike was expected,Aku-nna and her friends all went out to look for firewood.While Aku-nna was trying to pull a wood it suddenly broke and she fell to the ground.She felt a pain in her back third time.But this time she couldn’t hide it and everybody learnt that she became a woman.Ogugua said her a lot of men wanted him(esp.Okoboshi-Aku-nna knows him from school and doesn’t like him-). She doesn’t want to marry but Okonkwo would make her marry quickly.Aku-nna was alone without her mother’s support because she was expecting a baby from Okonkwo. And she could never refuse anything to the father of her baby.
That evening they made a party for Aku-nna.And after the party all boys were allowed to visit her in the hut.After a short time Chike came.When he came nobody greeted him.Okoboshi came nearer to Aku-nna and put his hand into her shirt.Chike hit Okoboshi in the face.The boys went after this event.
The fifteen-year old girls were practising the Christmas dance.This was very important.Their teacher’s name was Zik.One evening they were going to learn dance and they saw Chike.Chike said that Aku-nna had passed her exams and she could be a teacher.The girls clapped and they hurried not to be late for dancing.
They started to practise.But all the lights went out and heavy footsteps heard.Some men kidnapped Aku-nna.Aku-nna thought that this was end of her dreams.Because according to a tradition if someone cuts a girl’s hair he will be her husband forever.
CHAPTER 9(A FORCED WEDDING)
Chike heard some gun shots on the way of home.He thought it must be a wedding.And he heard some cryings from Aku-nna but he thought that his imagination played with him.At home he realised the shots were coming from Obidi family’s hut.He understood this was Aku-nna’s wedding.
In the village all men tried to find Aku-nna but they couldn’t.Obidis came to Okonkwo’s hut and they agreed on a small bride price.If Okoboshi cut a piece of hair from Aku-nna he would be her husband.
Nna-nndo wanted help from Chike and he promised to save Aku-nna.
CHAPTER 10(THE ESCAPE)
Aku-nna was carried to her new home.At night Okoboshi came to their hut.Aku-nna said Okoboshi that she wasn’t a virgin.She said she had slept with Chike many times. Okoboshi believed this.But this was not true.Okoboshi hit her in the face and told this to his relatives.
Aku-nna was being kept in the hut of Okoboshi’s mother.Nna-nndo came to visit her and he brought a letter from Chike.In the letter he said”I will whistle after dark,when you go to the toilet.I love you.Chike.”
Later,Okoboshi’s mother came in and said her to go to Okoboshi’s hut and maybe he could forgive her.Aku-nna wanted permission to go to toilet.As they planned Chike came and they ran through the Asaba.Chike’s driver was living there and he would take them to Ughelli in the morning.
CHAPTER 11(TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?)
In Ughelli Chike and Aku-nna were staying in the hut of Ben Adegor,an old friend of Chike.They bought new furnitures with the money Chike’s father gave them.Chike started a job in the oil company.Aku-nna told Chike that she was still a virgin.Chike became very happy after this.They bought a bed and they christened the bed “Joy”.
Aku-nna thought everything were so easy to them.She begged the God not to let anything happen to destroy their joy.
CHAPTER 12(THE UNPAID PRICE)
In the village Okoboshi got angry with Aku-nna.So he lied about her.She said he became her husband.Everyone believed in this story.And Ofulue family became more hated.Chike’s father offered a bride price to Okonkwo but he refused.Okonkwo took his revenge from Ma Blackie by divorcing her.
In Ibuza if you wanted to destroy someone,you made a little doll exactly like that person.Then you pushed a sharp needle into doll’s heart.Okonkwo made a little doll that had Aku-nna’s face.Chike’s father heard about this doll and told Chike this.And warned him not to tell this to Aku-nna.Nna-nndo was sent to Ughelli to live with Aku-nna and Chike.Ofulue family was sending two whole pounds to Ma Blackie every month.
One day Aku-nna had a terrible headache and they went to doctor.They learnt that Aku-nna was pregnant.The doctor said that Aku-nna had to stop work and eat plenty of good food.
The baby was giving Aku-nna a lot of pain.Chike’s brother,who is a doctor,was coming and examining Aku-nna.He said she was too small and needed an operation for childbirth.
In Ibuza Ofulue offered a bride price to Okonkwo but he refused again.Okonkwo’s little doll was stolen and he paid a medicine man a lot of money to make a new doll.He said “This will call Aku-nna back in the wind”
Many times Aku-nna woke up and said that her uncle was calling her back.One night she suddenly screamed and they understood that the baby was coming.They went to hospital.The doctor told him that she had to have an operation.
The operation was unsuccesful for Aku-nna,she died.But they had a girl.Before she died she wanted Chike to be very happy and to call their girl “Joy”.
Afterwards every girl in Ibuza was told the sad story of Aku-nna.”If you want to live long” they were told”You must accept the husband that your people choose for you.And your bride price must be paid.”
Of course,that is all nonsense.But even today no girl wants to risk it.
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