ACT I: SCENE II
Nmafiong arrives home and narrated the story to her husband.
NMAFIONG: That is the single reason your son has to send me out of his house. Your son has the gods to send me out of his house.
IFIA: (Clears his throat) my wife, you are taking this case too far. I have told you to abstain and stay away from the couple. I do not want you to be the driving force by which Nnamso is driven out of my son’s house. You need a grandchild, yes! I do also need one but you must not be restless in your desire neither in a rush to get it.
NMAFIONG: But Ette, what is wrong with advising my son who is getting much older to seek for another wife since the first one is unproductive?
IFIA: You see, (He takes his snuff) in this society of nowadays, nature has been so unique and demanding compared to that of our fore-fathers that one must exercise a great deal of patience in any condition surrounding ones situation otherwise you act beyond boundaries.
NMAFIONG: So what do you suggest?
IFIA: Yes! Since the couple has believed in each other and have realized that where there is a will that there lies the way, I suggest that we should also be carried along with them.
NMAFIONG: Ette! You and your son can remain stagnant, but I must make sure that I do everything possible to have a grandchild before I join my ancestors.
IFIA: Woman, you have to understand that patience is the key to achievement.
NMAFIONG: For how long will I be patient for the desert to bring forth life? My mates some of whom I got marriage before like mama Nkoyo have great grandchildren and here I am. No, I must do something about this. I can’t sit back with my two eyes widely open and watch a witch pasteurizing my only son. I must do something urgent! (She walks away).
IFIA: Hold it there woman (He ordered). Be warned! Remember that something is never for nothing. If you plan any evil against that innocent girl, you must surely bear the consequences, sooner or later. Be warned, the patient dog eats the fattest bone! (He leaves the stage).
NMAFIONG: I must not spare that witch. Is either she leaves or I die and she must leave. (She noticed the absence of Rita, her daughter). Where is this girl now! Ri . . ta! R. .i . . t . . a . . !!
RITA: Yes . . . mama!
NMAFIONG: Where have you been since?
RITA: Oh Mama; welcome!
NMAFIONG: I said where have you been?
RITA: I went to visit a friend of mine who just return from the city.
NMAFIONG: Is that why you abandoned what you would have done and left for your friend’s house?
RITA: No mama.
NMAFIONG: Don’t you know that when I was young, that any of my friends who travels pay me a visit on their arrival before I could visit their homes?
RITA: Well, mama I’m sorry.
NMAFIONG: By the way, who is this friend of yours? Is she from this village?
RITA: Mama I mean Nkutdema, the daughter of Uma, Papa’s friend.
NMAFIONG: Oh! I see; how is she?
RITA: She is fine.
NMAFIONG: Please go in and change so that you can prepare food, because I’m very hungry and tried.
RITA: Yes Mama; that reminds me, how is brother Inuabak and the wife?
NMAFIONG: My daughter, you won’t understand.
RITA: Ah! Understand what? Didn’t you meet them in the house? Or is any of them ill?
NMAFIONG: Had it been one of those things that you have mentioned, it would have been better.
RITA: So mama what?
NMAFIONG: Your brother and the so-called wife threw me out of the house.
RITA: Mama you mean Inuabak and Nnamso drove you out of their house?
NMAFIONG: Exactly my dear. Just because I showed some concern as a mother towards him and advice him to divorce that witch and marry another wife.
RITA: But mama you shouldn’t do that; since brother has decided to live his life the way he is doing and enjoys marrying same wife, then you should wash your hands off them because I believe that God will visit them someday.
NMAFIONG: My daughter, I can see that you are still young that’s why you find it difficult to understand.
RITA: Mama I can understand. But while urging him to get another wife, you have to be very careful otherwise you end-up making wrong and disastrous actions.
NMAFIONG: Daughter, I don’t care. I must do something urgently; I must do something now that it is not too late!!!
Three women discussing along the way each holding baskets containing different farm produce to the market for sales.
1st Woman: My sisters, yesterday I heard the town crier beating the gong in the early hour of the evening but I was not attentive. Please were you able to hear the massage?
2nd Woman: My dear! It’s about the celebration of Mma Akpong’s grandchildren days!
3rd Woman: According to him, he said that the feast will commence at exactly 9.0am and the Chief celebrant will present the opening speech and cultural display will follow immediately.
1st Woman: No wonder! And I have been wondering what made the cultural troupe start their early preparation when it is not even closer to “MBER” month.
2nd Woman: That’s not all o!
1st Woman: My sister, abeg tell me something.
2nd Woman: All the women in the entire village who have grandchildren are specially invited to the occasion and more emphasis will be laid on them.
3rd Woman: That means we all are part of the occasion.
2nd Woman: Exactly.
1st Woman: (She breathes in) Hem! MmaAkpong has really tried for us. She distributed kerosene and mosquito nets to all the grandmothers in this village during her last year grandchildren’s anniversary.
3rd Woman: She is a generous woman, a lover of her fellow women.
1st Woman: Please, we must hurry to the market so that ……
2nd Woman: So that what? What have you got to do in the house?
1st Woman: I will have to keep things in order; then visit Nmafiong my friend, to inform her of the occasion.
3rd Woman: That reminds me, what about that her son?
2nd Woman: You mean Inuabak, the only son?
3rd Woman: Yes! Inuabak and the wife
1st Woman: My sister, wonder, they say shall never end. Can you believe that as nice looking and handsome young man as he is that he can’t impregnate the wife?
2nd Woman: Do you see with me? Who knows what he has dipped his hands into?
3rd Woman: You see, men are terrible these days, he may decide to sacrifice his seed for his riches.
1st Woman: Exactly! Have you ever being to his house?
3rd and 2ndWoman: No, we have not (they said simultaneously).
1st Woman: My sisters, you need to see his building, exotic cars and other basic amenities enclosed in his own personal compound.
3rd Woman: I wonder who will inherit all that riches
2nd Woman: I only pity the lady
1st Woman: You mean the wife? Do you even know if she is the cause of this?
2nd Woman: How? I don’t understand you.
3rd Woman: Are you new in this village? Don’t you know that the wife is also responsible for their situation?
2nd Woman: Abeg, let me hear more.
3rd Woman: According to her, she said that she is waiting for God’s appointed time.
2nd Woman: Ah! This has got nothing to do with God o!
1st Woman: That is it.
2nd Woman: And what actions are Inuabak’s parents taking?
3rd Woman: Action? (She hisses).
1st Woman: I’m sure that lady has bewitched them all. Can you imagine EtteIfia of all people folding his arms and watch his only son die in this bondage.
2nd Woman: No, something is wrong somewhere that lady has highly influenced him with her charms and has made the whole family speechless. Oh no! Pretender does the worst. I never knew Nnamso could be this wicked, God forbid!!
3rd Woman: My sister that is the world for you. See how some women are dangerous these days.
2ndWoman: Its quiet a pity, I must see Nmafiong as soon as possible. They should not sit back and fold their arms while their one and only son die in bondage.
1st Woman: Yes! They must look for the black goat when it is not dark.
3rd Woman: Did I hear you say when it is not dark? There you go wrong.
1st Woman: How?
3rd Woman: For a good period of twelve years and you said when it is not dark.
2nd Woman: My sister, you are right, yes! Not even cases of miscarriage are heard.
3rd Woman: Oh oo!
1st Woman: I can seee! (She nods her head) its true oo!
3rd Woman: Something needs to be done with immediate effect. Just take a look at Inuabak, he is never the one of yester year.
1st and 2nd Woman: We don’t understand (they sounded).
3rd Woman: I mean he is getting older, can’t you all see that he is getting much older than before?
2nd Woman: And yet no child.
1st Woman: Well my sisters, let’s just pray that that witch doesn’t finish him up.
2nd Woman: I pray so o, my sister!
3rd Woman: I wish he will still have the strength so that he can marry another wife.
1st Woman: That only, can be through the help and actions of the parents.
3rd Woman: You are right my sister
2nd Woman: Mbok, let’s hurry to the market.
A DAY LATER AFTER THE CEREMONY!
Nmafiong in the frontage of her house clearing the surrounding she hears the sounds and voices of women returning from Mma Akpong’s Grandchild celebration.
ATIM: My sisters so I was on the dark side all these years this great occasion has been going on? Imagine all the assorted food and drinks, jokes, advice, gifts in cash and in kind plus better betterawuf to all the grand mothers.
1st Woman: You just attend for the first time and you dey talkam like this? While not attain at least for a second time.
2nd Woman: I wonder what she will have to say o!
1st Woman: I have attended this great feast right from time and I have been selling out many of my house holdings, because there is no space for them to be kept.
2nd Woman: Same thing is not uncommon to me.
ATIM: This is interesting; she has really tried for the women.
NMAFIONG: (She exclaimed and said to herself) Oh! Look at what I’m missing for all these years. As capable and a well to do woman as I am, I believe that with my open-eye that I would have been elected as one of the yearly distinguished guest of honour and I know what that means.
No! I won’t waste anymore time before more of these pass me by. I must react and charm my son in order to send that lady away. Imagine all the gifts and money, who knows as time goes on, her children and grandchildren overseas may decide to grace the occasion with cars to all the grandmothers and I can’t afford to miss that. Yes! That lady must be sent away!