The Ibori family lived in a two-room thatched cottage. They slept on the floor. At night, Demond covered his face with his hands, so the mosquitoes wouldn’t bite. They were everywhere, especially at night. No one knew how to get rid of them. Sometimes people from the district health department came and sprayed DDT in the air around his house. He could sleep better for a couple of nights, but then the mosquitoes returned again.
One day Abebi cried all night. She couldn’t sleep. Her stomach was growling. Demond was upset. He didn’t understand why Akua couldn’t find another job or make some money so they could eat.
In the morning he left home and walked the streets aimlessly. It was better than listening to Badru and Abebi cry. He didn’t go to school. What good was school on an empty stomach?
By evening he felt weak. Mrs. Kone lived two blocks away from his house. Her husband worked on a tobacco farm owned by a rich landlord. He earned good wages. Demond saw a basket full of fruits and vegetables in Mrs. Kone’s house. He could see it from the street through an open window. He looked around and not noticing anyone, walked in through the open door. He picked up the basket and ran as fast as he could.
“Where in the world did you get this?” Bayo asked when he came home.
“I was coming home and saw that Mrs. Kone had these in a basket.”
“But you can’t just take them without asking.”
“Oh, she wouldn’t miss it. Besides why should we go hungry? I don’t think she’d starve. It’s just her and Mr. Kone.”
“It’s not right.”
Bayo said this, but secretly she was glad that she could have some food for her family. She hoped Demond wouldn’t get into a habit of stealing. She boiled the bananas for eating that night and saved the rest for the next day.
“Well, don’t do that again. They’ll catch you and send you to jail.”
Demond didn’t respond. But that night everyone slept well.
The next week as Demond was returning home he saw a stray chicken trotting on the street. He grabbed it and hid under his shirt. He took it to a live stock market and sold it. He came home with some money to buy corn. Bayo didn’t ask what he had done.