Okanya disappeared for a while. When he
returned he was in pain. I asked him what had happened, but he
became reticent and distant.
I was young,
certainly. Like all of us at that age my imagination teeming with
half finished things. And now that time is so far away those half
finished things are most likely still half finished. But there was a
difference between us, and Okanya's disappearance heralded that
The share of blame for difference belongs
to the "us" part of you and I. Like swarms,
together we gravitate around shininess and the powerful or the most
desperate win. I sometimes think the rest of us just follow.
I remember we saw a dust devil and Okanya pointed at it
so that it would not chase us. Then we watched a column of army ants,
like a long hissing snake. We both knew army ants eat those babies
left to sleep alone.
We found a bicycle chain that had lost that vital
sprocket which renders it useless except as a weapon. Made a train out
of soap to travel along it. Built roads in the mud to give the train
It was in little things that a harmony returned.
But Okanya had become wiser quickly. Which, if there is a reason for
it, is why the Ateso wait so long to circumcise their young