Thursday, March 17, 2016

Agbor-Ereng: The Hated and Abandoned Wife.


Deep in the quarter of  Boh Mbi, in the great Kingdom of Ntenako, Cameroon lived a married woman who was maltreated by her wicked husband. Agbor-Ereng married the man of her dream. She loved him so much, but it was not clear if he did same. They toiled every night and day, exchanging their spirits with one another. This culminated into three children; three years, two years and three months old. One day, as the youngest cried, her mother sang a lullaby, the dad Ebensuk left to harvest plums from the plum tree just behind their house.
The night past, but there was no sight of him. The wife reported his disappearance to the quarter head who quickly sent out a town-crier. He played the akangkang (local dual aluminum bell). He called the villagers to gather at the market square. They all did. He asked if anyone knew the whereabouts or the wherewithal of Abgor-Ereng’s husband. Rumors were that he probable died in the river or perhaps was eaten by a wild beast. That was quickly dispelled because he was a warrior, unlike many others, a hunter who killed crocodiles, buffalos and pythons with his bare hands. Others felt that his womanizing must have caused him to be kidnapped or some evil had surreptitiously befallen him.
The villagers searched and searched, set up nets in the river so in case he had drowned, they will at least find his body. Many argued that if he had been eaten by wild beats, they should have at least seen his clothes or even bones since there are always remnants of corpses eaten by wild beasts.
One day, when Nnangti-Nnangti went to Obang Market to buy oil and other household needs, she saw someone who looked like Ebensuk siting comfortably, eating with one beautiful princess of the place. She thought that perhaps her eyes were failing her, so she wiped them off over and over again. Then she looked again. Now that she was certain, she decided to approach them to remove any doubts, whatsoever. She went to them, greeted them and introduced herself. He introduced himself courteously, as did the girl too. Nnangti-Nnangti hurried home, wishing her legs could take her faster because this was the type of news that will make the bearer a heroine. Upon arriving the village, she did not stop by her own house; she passed straight to Agbor-Ereng’s. She was pounding the cocoayms that was donated to her. She told her about her discovery.
Agbor-reng thought that it was some form of April Fool joke, so she laughed it off. There was a moment of silence. Then she asked again, “Did you say that she you saw my husband? You know that this is not a joking matter. “She reiterated. Her friend told her that she was ready to lead her to Obang Njemiyah for her to take her own eyes and see. That would be the only way she could find the truth herself. She should run to Obang and find out for herself because they are a popular couple in town. She tied her wrapper, as was the custom of women going for a fight. If she head feathers, she could have flown, but she only had legs, so she beg them, to go faster. Her heart encouraged her to fly, but her body took her by the pace of her legs. Finally she reached Obang and inquired if anyone knew the said couple. A young girl pointed to the house.
Agbor-Ereng went to the door and knocked. Her husband stepped out. With utter shock and bemusement, he went in and called for his present woman with whom he has been living. The wife asked him why he abandoned them. He told her that she was acting like a porcupine to him, so he could not bear her presence anymore. She then asked him, “What about the kids?” He told her that they were his gift to her, that she could keep the kids. He asked him about the house he had built, and he told her to take it too. She asked him about the famrms, he told her to inherit everything because he had cut off from that village of Ntenako.
She turned her back and began to sorrowfully sing with tears running down her cheeks:

mmu oyie ne yi ka naw woh nti ehh,
Ana me ti ah na woh nti oh
Nmemwah arome, nnemwah abue me eh
Ebensuk abwe ngoreh yi a bweh bhoh bhi nkwo
Eh eh Ebensuk eh, eh eh Ebensuk oh
mmu oyie ne yi ka naw woh nti ehh

She marched to the palace and reported the matter to the chief. The chief immediately sent people to go and bring the man. They brought him with his new father in-law, new family and villagers. They asked him why he abandoned his wife, talk less of his kids.
He got up, cleared his throat and began to speak. “My people, just by seeing this woman, I am depressed. Had I continued to live with her, I would have died before my time because she nagged me every minute of my life. She is tiny like an ant, but her bite easily form an anthill in your life.”
 He told the crowd of onlookers who had composed a song just to shame him that he did not come to stay. He came to go back because he did not see his lot in this village again. That is why he came with his new family, just to prove that he has moved on.  The chief asked him, “What about your kids?” He looked at him and smiled. Then he said to the chief, “these kids are a replica of their mother. They carry badluck and death like her, so I do not want them. I have given them to her as my gift. If she does not want the gift, I will throw it in into the river. That way everything will be forgotten.” The crowd went dead quiet. An old woman exclaimed, chah me, nenengti noh mma! This is great wickedness. How can anyone bear such heartlessness? Many in the crowd asked.
The woman got up, told them chief, “Chief and honorable people, I have heard him, so I must leave. Mere mortals do not hold the destiny of the chosen ones. I thank everyone who searched for him, kept me in their prayers and above all, fed me until this day. When your self-worth in trampled underfoot, it is not a time to organize pity parties; it is a time to fight because that is all you have left. Therefore, as from today and this very time, I am no more going to welcome any gifts.
Since the time that the husband ran away, she has been fed by the largess of the villagers. She does not more want the pity party, so she looked for an iron basket, put charcoal in it and began to roast corn every day; morning, afternoon and night. As she roasted the corn, she cried and sang;

mmu oyie ne yi ka naw woh nti ehh,
Ana me ti ah na woh nti oh
Nmemwah arome, nnemwah abue me eh
Ebensuk abwe ngoreh yi a bweh bhoh bhi nkwo
Eh eh Ebensuk eh, eh eh Ebensuk oh
mmu oyie ne yi ka naw woh nti ehh

For days she spent roasting her corn. The villagers, passersby and other traders going to Nchang, Ndekwai, Besong-Abang or Mamfe stopped by to buy her corn. She sold and cried. Within a short time, she was the most popular corn seller, even with an informal monopoly. No one bought corn from elsewhere, except her. She sold and sold the corn! Finally, she raised her kids from selling corn. They graduated from high school, went to college and the first child became the vice president of the National House of Representatives. 
It is not every relationship that will work. If it does not work, the world has not come to an end. There are other opportunities. Do not allow anyone to trample upon your self-worth for that is all you have. A person self-worth is not determined by wealth, education or beauty. Your life is as valuable as theirs. Therefore, you must gather yourself to fight for your life, for only then shall it be well.

Until then, your fighting spirit will carry you through!

St Arrey of Ntenako.



“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (I Cor 15:19). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Hamilton Ayuk. Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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