Story: Boke's Angel


Senior Member
May 25, 2012
Written by David Samson Ngocho

'Boke, come! Come here sweet darling. How are you?' That was Aunt Gake Mokami's voice calling Boke, and that's how Boke was lured into Aunt Gake Mokami's embrace.

Boke had been crying alone by the shades of their big mango tree a meter away from their little house, a small grass thatched hut, built using the locally available sisal poles and easily collected grasses from bushes around the village and walled with red earth from keMokami~o~Robi's River banks.

The cow dung did a great job of decorating that small house they called home. Her mom would collect the fresh cow dung from their only cow - 'kiburuha', mix it with special 'kiböse' which is the very red soil found along the river banks, and adding some few gallons of water. She would then gently but perfectly plaster the mixture on the inner walls of their two room house using her bare hands before she did the same on the outer walls.

When she was very young, Boke used to help her mom do the wall plastering. She would decorate the walls with her tiny little fingers, trying as possible as she could to keep her fingers from touching her own face, for she felt cow dung was disgusting, but she eventually ended up decorating her beautiful, innocent face with the same solution of cow dung and kiböse. It was very funny, and her mom would always make it a laughable subject as she teased her. She always treasured those moments.

She was an angel, her mom. The stories she used to tell her when they sat by the hearthside in the evening, made her think her mother was an angel for real. Her mother's stories were majorly based on the qualities and functions of angels. The angels were perfect beings according to her words. She would tell her how sweet angels were, and how brave and good hearted their souls were made. Those qualities and attributes that her mom so often talked about in reference to Angels, Boke could tell they fit her mother perfectly. She sometimes dreamed that her mother was actually an angel with wings that shone with beauty.

That day when Aunt Gake Mokami came to her and said those nice words, calling her 'sweet darling', Boke thought perhaps her Aunt Gake Mokami was an angel, like her mom was. Boke knew many people in her village, a lot of them were mean, selfish and hypocritical. Only her mother among the village people qualified as an Angel. She wondered if this Aunt, that she barely knew, was real as sweet as her words were, or just like many people in her village, she probably was a pretender.

But now… Oh God, as she thought about it, she wet her eyes. Boke couldn't stop the tears from dropping from her eyes, and in her heart, she felt the pain that pierced her dear heart when she brought the thought that her mother was no more, that her mother was now dead and buried six feet deep in the ground. Yes, she was buried just a day ago, leaving her all alone. Now, her Aunt Gake Mokami was here, offering her the words of comfort.

Boke was now twelve. A standard five pupil at Masangora Primary school, where her mother also used to work as a dishwasher for some school teachers. She would roam around from this house to that house asking for house cleaning jobs and dish-washing and sometimes clothes washing and ironing. At home, She would tend to a patch behind her house where she grew some vegetables and tomatoes which she sold to those very same teachers as well. That was what her mother did for a living.

At that age, Boke did not know who her father was, just a name is all she knew about her dad. Her mom had at certain point told her about him. She spoke highly of him, as if he was someone very important. She told her to respect him.

'He is a great man, your father. Someday he will come and take us both to Mwanza City.' She reminisced a statement that her mother told her once. But Boke would always wonder, if what her mother said about her father was true, where was he when her mother was struggling to make ends meet? Sometimes her mother would lie agonizing alone on bed due to her breast cancer ailment, where was that great man?

The 'know it all' people in her village had told her something different from what her mother had told her. They had told her, her father was a nobody, he was some scumbag whose work was to labor in town doing all dirty works and was lowly paid when luck but mostly, he was offered something to eat in return for his services. His name was Jerry but he was called ‘Punda’ instead, a Swahili word for donkey. Carrying people's luggage was what he was best at doing in Mwanza.

How could she believe them when all they were, was a bunch of gossipers, the ‘know it all’ kinds? Her mom was right, she told herself. One of these days, he would come for them, She so fervently prayed.

But now, her mother was dead. The father was nowhere near. He didn't even attend the funeral ceremony for her. Boke cried. She cried when she realized it could be true that her father was some scumbag as the people said. She cried because now that her mother was dead, she couldn't bring herself to doubting that her mom could have told her some lies. Whenever she thought like that, she wavered her hands across her face as if to wipe away such doubtful thoughts.

Boke gurgled down her throat the bitter saliva in her mouth as she tilted her head upward to take a glance at her Aunt Gake Mokami, squinting her eyes as if peeping into her mind. Was she real? Her eyes which were red and watery dropped a tear down on her yellowish drafted gown. Gake Mokami, extended her arm to her. She took her hand and pulled her up to her and embraced her tightly. Boke felt comfortable. She felt comforted by her Aunt.

'Don't you worry dear, I will take care of you from now onwards. You see, God has a nice plan for everyone' Aunt Gake Mokami, told her calmly. But the statement didn't make sense to her. She kept wondering how taking her mom away when she needed her was a nice plan by God, she didn't ask however.

She wiped dry her eyes with her bare hands, and then inhaled deeply, squeezing the run nasal mucous into her throat in the process. She thanked God for bringing her Aunt all the way from Dar es salaam, Tanzanian largest and busiest city. For moments she had wondered how she was going to live alone without her mom to take care of her. Her mother must have heard her worries and asked God to bring Aunt Gake Mokami.

Aunt Gake Mokami, lived in Dar es salaam. She's been living there for how long? Perhaps it was forever, she thought. The last time she saw her, she was barely seven, back then, Aunt Gake Mokami had come to attend grandma Mogesi's funeral ceremony. It seemed to Boke that, Gake Mokami would only come home when there was a dead member to be buried.

Although Boke was mourning her mother, she was equally happy to learn that eventually she would be going to Dar es salaam. A city she fancied had a lot of good things to offer. Best schools, best houses, electricity, running water where you don't have to walk distances just to go fetch water. She also thought about getting a white, soft, sparkling, beautiful face. She always admired women and girls from Dar es salaam. A person as black as charcoal would go to the city, few months later when she visited home, they would identify her by her voice. The dark skin of few months ago would be ripe and yellow as ripe bananas.

For two days which Aunt Gake Mokami stayed at her mother’s house, Aunt Gake Mokami helped her lessen the pain of losing her mother. To do so, Aunt Gake Mokami told her many wonderful stories about the city. Boke was awed by those stories. Oh, she couldn't wait to get into the city. Her Aunt like many women from Dar es salaam, had a soft, tender and ripe face skin. Boke would at sometimes sit on the small three legged wooden stool, her left cheek supported by her left hand, staring at her Aunt's beautiful white face in admiration, she looked like a mzungu (white person)

A week after her mother's burial, Aunt Gake Mokami took her to Dar es salaam. The journey was an adventure for her. It was her first time traveling from her village Masangora in Mara region. When they stopped at Mwanza city, Boke wondered if one of those guys that offered to carry their luggage on their behalf, was her father. And for that matter she was tempted to introduce herself. She thought, 'maybe if I told them my name, one of them could be him and he would wonder if I'm her daughter.'
'Hello, I'm Boke Jerry' she said.

'Nice name' one Porter man answered in a hurry.
'Do you perhaps know Mr. Jerry?' she asked again.
'Jerry who, this is a big city, there are so many Jerrys’ another Porter said.

'Jerry from Masangora village? Ah I hear he is popularly called Punda here!' she couldn't hide her curiosity and zeal.
'But we are all called punda binti(girl), but anyways, I don't know no village by that name' said the first Porter.
'No, don't know him either.' the second Porter said as well. She grew cold apparently. She wasn't going to be able to meet her dad. She kept wondering how disappointed he'll be when he learned about his family, that his wife died and the daughter went away into the city. He will never find them at Masangora village. What a pity. She kept debating her family's misfortune in her head.

They took a room at Sunrise guest house in Mwanza city. She could remember the name very well, it was writen on some sparkling, fluorescent lit body, changing colours of the words after several seconds, blinking at times and disappearing somewhere leaving space for ‘Karibu sana’ words appearance. The words meant ‘warmly welcome’. It was somewhere near the bus stand. The city had many people. All of them seemed to be busy at what they were doing, even the bystanders and idlers looked busy at it. It was beautiful. In the night, it was alight like the day. Every house had electricity lights on. Oh how beautiful. No wonder her father could not get back to village. Life in the city must have been great for him and very fascinating.

They took the bus for Dar es salaam early in the morning the next day. She enjoyed the whole safari. They saw any things on the way, houses of different makes, semi arid areas, very large forests but she enjoyed the most seeing different kinds of wild animals. She sometimes slept during the journey. She didn't like it but who has ever won over sleep? Then they eventually arrived in the largest city. Dar es salaam. Her aunt's house was a moderate home, not big, and it was full of people. One room, was occupied by a family with four and even five members, and so was the other rooms in that house.

There were total of twelve families clustered in the same house. She later on learned that her Aunt Gake Mokami was not as rich as the people in the village said she was. She actually paid money to elder Joyce Gaso so she could live in that one room. Everything was right there in the very same room. The bed, the radio, kitchenwares, clothes, pretty much everything except the shoes that were left by the door. The one they wore since they started their journey at Masangora village. They arrived in the city by midnight. Except for her aunt's room, every other room glittered with electricity lights.

Her aunt's room was the only one without electricity lights. She wondered why, but kept silent. As if by psychic reading, her Aunt told her, they would pay the electricity bills the next day but she didn't. Not even a day after that. She never did buy power for a whole week she stayed there. Whenever her Aunt supposedly went to work in the evening, Boke would watch television in their neighbors room and get back to her aunt's room later on to sleep. Life here was boring, because they weren’t rich and even the neighbor was not always happy when she went to watch television in her room.

One day during the weekend in the evening, Aunt Gake Mokami came home with a guest. It was a slim, long faced woman with large curvy hips and buttocks. She wore what one could tell was expensive outfits, short miniskirt, that perfected her voluptuous curvy behind and a red top that kept her cleavage visible. She had big firm breasts. She looked beautiful. Only one thing scared the hell out of Boke from the woman. Her eyes. Her eyes were sharp, she felt they could pierce right through hers and cause her blindness. Aunt Gake Mokami introduced the lady to her. She said the lady was a professional lawyer, but she wasn't practicing. Jobs were hard to locate in town, so she decided, why sleep on her beauty when it was exactly what men worked so hard to get and were generous enough to offer some handsome amount? So, she employed her beauty and it was paying her handsome men and handsome money. Her name was Frida.

Boke couldn't grasp what the talking was real about. However when her aunt's next words were uttered, they caused her immediate migraine. She was getting sick, perhaps fever.

'She is going to take you with her. You're going to learn entrepreneurship skills from the best in town. I'm old enough, I don't attract men with money nowadays but she does. I merely earn enough to survive but not real much. She has a large, spacious house. With everything you so desired. Everything. You'll find it easier because God granted you natural beauty and they will pay you handsomely. Am I not right Frida?' Aunt Gake Mokami said.

'Definitely right, sweetie. She is an asset I tell you. I might as well arrange for the first encounter tonight' the woman said, looking at Boke's body from the toes to the hair. Piercing her as she did. Boke was beautiful, a fair light skinned face, tall, those lips of hers, well, one would think she was made for kisses. 'When she’d walk in the streets, men would drop their jaws. They would pay anything to have her. She would make a lucrative business.' Frida thought as she took steps towards Boke. Wondering how men will lust for the girl if she taught her all the moves.

When the woman approached her and started fondling her breasts, Boke's fever charged higher by degrees. She was totally sick now. She took a step behind, and fell on the bed bursting out with a loud cry.

Why? What's happening? She wasn't going to be able to attend school no more! But why? Hadn't her aunt promised to take good care of her? Is this how she was going to do it? Am I for sell now? She reminisced the best moments she used to have with her mother. These things she was hearing, were the exact things her mom called abomination. She urged her to beware of them. And now, her mother's own sister was urging her to do them? What a world! What in the world was this supposed to mean. She cried, hard, knowing her dreams of becoming a doctor were now getting shattered by her mom's death. She cried, not knowing what her future was going to be like. Had she known this was what awaited her in the city, she wouldn't have come. It seemed like it was too late now. The world was collapsing on her, now.

She felt a wind of cold breeze sweep through her body. She was going to be sick. She was definitely sick. Was she going to die?. She wondered. The fever was engulfing her by seconds. Soon it was going to totally devour her. She was sweating profusely, yet she felt the cold like never before.

Her Aunt Gake Mokami was now onto her. Raged with anger, she looked furious than a hurt Buffalo. She looked here and there, swearing all she could and then she saw a wire they usee for hanging clothes to dry. She grabbed it forcefully, and with her mightiest will, she lashed the wire on Boke's buttocks as she lay on her stomach, leaving them protruding behind her. The pain went through her in a swirling manner. She gave a quicky short loud cry and kept quiet.

'You want to make me look pathetic in front of my guest? Stupid girl. You think you're still a child acting all dumb? You want to play games with me? I'm going to show you how to be a disciplined girl.' Aunt Gake Mokami, whirled the wire in the air and brought it to a halt on Boke’s butts once more. She wasn't crying aloud now, she seemed to be suffocating herself with her sobs.
'I'm sorry Aunt, I'm sorry. I'm sick Aunt, please don't kill me!' Boke managed to say.

All the while, the Frida lady was standing akimbo, shaking her head up and down in appreciation. Boke brought herself up and managed to sit on the bed, tilting her painful left hip. Gake Mokami was going to lash her on the back when the guest tapped her on the shoulder and stopped her.

'That's enough now, she says she is sick. Was she sick all this time? She is sweating profusely, you might want to check her out. Is she ok? Has she eaten something? Hurry up and give her some medicine her body has fever.' the Frida lady said as she kept touching her face with the back of her hand.

'I'm very sick Aunt, I'm sorry. I feel very cold.' Boke managed to say.
'Give her something to eat. I'll come for her tomorrow, it's getting dark, I might be late to work.' the lady guest said as she stepped out of the room.

'If the condition persists, please take her to hospital' the lady said from a distance now. Soon she was gone.
Gake Mokami, fetched some water in a plastic cup, and collected a packet of paracetamol tablets from under the mattress and handled them to Boke. Boke’s hands were shaking as she took the cup. Hurriedly, Aunt Gake Mokami brought some rice with beans on the plate and put them before her on a wooden chair.

‘Please eat some, then sleep. I will take you to hospital first thing in the morning’ she told her, feeling sorry. Perhaps for lashing her with a wire or for her worsening condition. Whatever the reason, Aunt Gake Mokami was messed up and she looked like she was going to cry out loud.

'I can't eat, sleep or stop my hands from shaking. As soon as the sun rises, I will leave this place.' Boke said and collapsed onto the bed. Gake Mokami's eyes popped out in shock.
'Bokee!' she called out in panic

'Bokee!' Gake Mokami cried out her name, her hands getting damp. Her mind was wobbling. She had a queasy stomach. Boke couldn't hear her. She was far away. Somewhere nice. She could see an Angel flip as she flew in the air coming towards her. As the Angel kept approaching, she realized it was her mother. She had become a perfect Angel. Oh, how happy she looked. As she looked at herself, Boke couldn't believe it, she also had her own wings. She tried to fly. Wow! How easy it was! She flew towards her mother. They looked happy as they embraced and sang a new song together, ‘the world is not our home, we belong to the heavens’, flying higher and higher into the heavens. Her mother leading the way!

The End.

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