Sitsofe (Part 5) …continued from previous edition
On his first day at work, Sitsofe was taught how to mend and make fishing nets but not without several beatings and knocks on his head. Two weeks later, he was ready to go fishing. He wore a faded red singlet and an old pair of shorts.
The clothes he had come along with were distributed among his colleagues, leaving him with few ones. Though he wasn’t happy about the situation, he had no right to complain. Ferrying on the mighty river for fishing, the fear that tormented Sitsofe on his journey to Vakpome had paid him a visit once again.
While padding the canoe amateurishly, his paddle accidentally fell inside the river. “Hey you useless boy. Why did you drop the paddle? Kuviatɔ (lazy boy),” Gani asked impatiently. Without waiting for any answer, Gani removed the paddle from the river and struck Sitsofe’s head with it.
As Sitsofe bled profusely, Gani was unperturbed and looked on sadistically. He went ahead and yelled at him to resume work and warned him not to drop the paddle again. That day, the duo recorded a big catch but Gani claimed absolute credit for their huge success due to his vast experience.
When they were rewarded with gari and fish for their effort, Gani greedily took the lion’s share to the displeasure of Sitsofe but he could not complain for fear of being given some knocks on his head.
Sitsofe was so sad that he detached himself from the rest of the boys as he sobbed silently. He had gone the whole day without food, so rejecting or failure to eat the little he had been offered amounted to facilitating his own death sentence.
It’d been one month since Sitsofe was taken away from the comfort zone of his hometown. While some of the children were mending and making nets for the next day’s work, the rest were repairing some of the canoes that weren’t in good shape.
All of a sudden, the heavily built and red-eyed Tulasi came out of his room and called for an urgent meeting. He looked very furious and aggressive.
“I kept some money under my bed yesterday and someone had the effrontery to enter my room and steal the money. So who took the money?” Tulasi asked angrily as he sternly and carefully looked at the face of each boy. Suddenly, the children looked at one another in fear and innocence. The silence that befell the boys could allow one to hear a pin drop.
Ekow De Heer