Demond started accompanying Nanji on his trips into town. Sometimes they worked in pairs, one distracting a tourist and the other picking his pocket. Demond got a hang of it in a few weeks. He didn’t tell Bayo or Akua of his escapades. But he brought home money. They didn’t ask any questions as long as they had something in their stomach and Demond wasn’t in trouble.
When the corn plants had grown Akua was happy that his farm yielded a good harvest. He worked all day in hacking the stems. Soon he would have to ask all his children to help him in husking and storing the corn. They stored the corn in one of the rooms in their hut. This was a happy time.
“Have you heard about Mrs. Kone?” Bayo asked Akua one evening when they were sitting together for dinner. It was middle of November. The trees had started to turn lush green.
“No,” Akua said. She had heard that Mrs. Kone was sick for a while with high fever and for the past few weeks she had been in coma. There were several other people in their neighborhood who were sick.
“She died yesterday,” Bayo said as if it was inevitable.
They had heard that people were dying of Malaria. Most realized that it was a matter of time before it would affect them. There were not that many doctors nearby and many couldn’t afford to buy medicine. The civic center downtown was always overcrowded.
Around January, Bayo started vomiting in the morning, and Akua got worried. She couldn’t help him on the farm during the next planting season. She was tired all the time. In four months when her body started to change shape she knew that it wasn’t a case of malaria. She was expecting another child. Akua would have one more mouth to feed.
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