Aunt Araba throws the bundle of firewood from her head on the floor while her husband, Mr. Amofa takes his sack and cutlass to the small room, a place where they keep their farm implements. Their four daughters get to work without sitting down. One starts arranging the firewood to light, one starts peeling the cassava, one washes the fish, starts cutting onions on it in preparation for soup as the other one sorts out saucepans to help wash the cassava and plantain to get ready for the fire. I sit with Mr. Amofa to ask the most important question of our time. Paapa, please have you heard of Corona Virus?
Why won’t I hear of it? Haven’t you seen my radio goes with me everywhere? Do you consider me someone who is not well vexed in current affairs? I deserve it, the radio talking non stop should have alerted me that my first question was stupid. The black worn out radio with a hanging belt stares and blared it’s Covid19 News. So I asked So what do you make of it?
“What can I make of it? It is not my business. I hear some cities shut down for three weeks but we live very simple lives. This is a village not many people visit. So we’re very safe. As you can see, we farm our foods and I fish or hunt for our animal protein. So the people who have it can handle it as best as they can, we are not at risk. That’s not to say I don’t empathize, but what can a poor farmer do?
His answer takes me aback. So you don’t do social distancing?
Lady, aren’t you listening? Social distancing for what? From who? We live in one house, use the public toilet, all those in this village without places of convenience in our homes do, and we hardly travel. So why deprive ourselves of the bonding handshakes and the healing hugs? If the world is going crazy, the people here are thankfully sane because the land is safe. Can’t the crazy city folks let us be happy in living the normal lives we can afford to?
Do you somehow think this is a punishment on the cities?
What an immature question. Why will I think that? I may come across as uncaring about the sickness because I don’t know anyone who has it. There are people in this village whose family members live in cities and even abroad. You can talk to them, I can’t remember the last time any of those people came here. They mostly settle in the cities and invite their beloveds there. Now all those people have refused to travel. And the disease of shame that this village was to the travellers, I think it is the same disease that makes people like you and them think we do not care. But we’re all human beings and we take no pleasure in the deaths of others. Now Lady, if you don’t mind, I’ll have to go take my bath. And you do look ridiculous in those things you call PPE. If you have the disease and you’re protecting us from you thank you, but if you think otherwise, then you’re… well… something else. He leaves to go take his bath as his wife, who has finished taking her bath comes to sit in the compound. A look at her and she goes Please don’t think about it. I have nothing to say. My husband has said it all. If you need water, I can get you a cup though.
So I thank them and take off, thinking people who actually use the term “village folks” as insults, animals.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © May 2020. Photo Credit: Google Pics