I gazed at the window to the thatch, mud hut and I did not meet Adugu’s eyes. His grey eye lids, brown and dark eye balls did not stare at my wooden bed. Perhaps he did not wake up at the first crow of the cock. He has been waking up before anyone else in the large compound for the past 105 years. He would come to our small hut and my eye balls would meet with his eye balls. He would call me ‘’Totofi’’ and I would answer him ‘’Baba’’. I would follow him to the bush paths to supervise his traps. He would have a big catch of the sweetest animal with short thighs. He had even caught antelopes. We were all happy that day as we ate meat in abundance and my dog too had a fill of the bones. I would fold the animals in the skin bag and take them home. Each time we approached Anja’s house, I would prepare to battle with his children who called me ‘’Totofi’’the name only my grandpa used to call me. I would lean towards my grandpa’s light weight body. I fear they would beat me.
‘’I told you to stop running away from these boys’’ my grandpa yelled at me on one of such occasions.
‘’I’m not running’’ I replied hastily.
I summoned courage and gave Agber, one of them , a strong hit in the face, the type Mike Tyson gives his opponent in the ring. He was quick to go down, though he was more muscular than I. Since then they stopped attacking me.
Adugu didn’t come to our hut and my eye balls did not meet with his eye balls. The first cock crows and Adugu is still sleeping. He did a lot of work on the farm yesterday and was overwhelmed. Adugu does not sleep as far as there’s a farm to go to and work to be done.
Adugu did not go to the farm today. No one went to the farm today.
I sat curiously reminiscing in thoughts about why many farmers gathered in our compound that early morning. Mama Dekera, my grandpa’s younger wife who took care of me after my mother’s death told me it was Saturday.
Members of Utaka clan which Adugu was the eldest, gather twice in a year on a date that falls on Saturday to clear the only road that linked the community to Idoma land. Adugu would address the locals and give them Ogogoro (local gin). They would sing native songs while clearing the road, amending wooden bridges eaten by termites in the dry season or washed away by streams in the raining season.
They came with palms fronds and leaves in their hands as if Jesus Christ was making another entry into Jerusalem. Mama Dekera brought out Ogogoro for them. Each of the men taking a sip from the same cup, started singing and heading to the bushy road as usual. This time around they were with drums, trumpets. Some were beating the balafon at the back of Adugu’s hut. There was shekere as well.
The old men started dancing the Ajo. They all appeared to have come from the same direction. They filed to Adugu’s hut. All women and children were asked to take the road leading to the farm and hide there. After 5 minutes, they appeared again from the hut with Anger, a Tiv traditional attire with black and white stripes, wrapped on a wooden caving being taken by three hefty men, one in front, one at the back and the other in the middle.
We stood far away and watched as they turned round the hut with the elders filing in the same order they had entered. The women started wailing. Mama Dekera held my head and sobbed profusely. The three men and the elders followed the bushy path where the other men had gone.
Adugu was taken to his place of final abode. Adugu had died in his sleep.