© Aaron Ansah-Agyeman
They had now walked to the extreme end of the settlement, and Shalom suddenly came to a stop as he stared open-mouthed across the planes. He could see a huge building in the distance submerged with green foliage. It was a gigantic building rising high above the trees. Between him and the building was a sea of green plants.
“Hey, what’s that building?” he asked, intrigued.
“Oh, it is a cursed place,” Calima said as she stopped beside him. “It was put up a long time ago, around 1960, by Osagyefo Doctor Kwame Nkrumah, the first president. He meant it as a factory, you know, as part of a nationwide feeding programme. They were going to grow food and export them, so I heard…but since he was overthrown, the place has remained like that. And now it is inhabited by ghosts and evil spirits! That’s why we were forced to come and live here, so the evil spirits can kill us!”
Shalom turned stunned eyes on the little beautiful woman.
“In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty!” he said softly.
She scowled at him.
“Are you insulting us?” Calima asked, sounding furious.
“Yes, you’re fools!” Shalom said and began to laugh. “You people sit there and go up there to lick cocoa beans because you’re hungry! Your children have kwashiorkor stomachs because of malnutrition! Meanwhile…you’re surrounded by food! Good food!”Read more interesting and erotic stories from www.generalloaded.com
“What are you talking about, huh?” Calima asked in a cold voice. “Why are you insulting us? Where’s the food?”
Shalom pointed to the green expanse of foliage in front of him.
“That’s not food!” Calima shouted. “It is poison! The land of the evil spirits! The leaves make us itchy, warning us to keep away from that place! Its branch looks like a viper snake! Witch and evil plant!”
“That is not poison, Calima, you fool!” he said with a laugh. “That is a brand of yam from Sri-Lanka. It is the amorphophallus paeoniifolius plant, known wildly as elephant foot yam. I’m sure it was planted when the Operation Feed Yourself project was started by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah! It is sweet, healthy food you
can eat it as a complete meal when boiled or with stew and soup! It even has medicinal qualities!”
“But we can’t eat that stem, or the leaves!” Calima said with a note of uncertainty in her voice.
“Not the stem!” Shalom cried. “The root, the tuber! Okay, look!”
He walked forward toward the huge light green and snake-skinned plant. He bent and grabbed one. The people screeched with fear and some began to flee. Calima’s eyes widened with horror, and Chief Ogum spoke rapidly, shielding his daughter from evil as he made some signs with his hands.
Shalom clenched and pulled the plant out of the ground, and below it was a gigantic yam-like tuber.
The people stopped screeching and stared at him with bulging eyes. Shalom approached Calima with a wide goofy smile on his face.
“This is food, Calima, good sweet food!” he said. “I’m so hungry and I won’t lick your stupid cocoa beans. Please, peel this and boil it for me! I can’t wait!” Calima screeched with fright and moved away from him!
The other small people moved away too, their expressions terrified!
“Wole ayirikyia?” Chief Ogum screamed with rage as he put a protective arm around Calima. “Mente ne bo wo? Wode aboi!”
“Oh, comot for there, you wizard!” Shalom shouted back. “What’s that? What’s wrong with you people? You too wode aboi! If I follow you people I’ll die of hunger here, or become tiny like you.”
He turned his back on them and pulled out two more elephant foot yams. He did not pay attention to any of them as he cast his eyes around and then he saw smoke billowing slowly from under a shed not far from where he was standing.
Shalom grabbed the tubers by their leaves and dragged them across the ground. The rain had subsided considerably now and so he walked a bit more leisurely. They shied away from him, but he could see the beginning of curiosity in their eyes as they followed him at a safe distance. He smiled when he noticed that even the fuming Chief Ogum was following him.
The shed turned out to be a kitchen. There were crude clay mouldings on the floor consisting of three short clay pillars. There was one pillar at the head with two a bit forward and to the side, forming a sort of triangle. And there were dry twigs in the space between them and they were the embers of a fire.
There were pans, a sort of cupboard and some shelves. Shalom picked up a knife and sliced off the branches. Deftly, he cut the tubers up and began to peel off the yam.
One of the men he had chased approached him timidly and spoke softly.
“Wo krei etokoaa?” he said.
“Nonsense!” Shalom said with a scowl. “Have you heard me speaking that language? My friend, comot!”
Calima giggled from the edge of the crowd.
“He’s asking if you want anything else,” she said.
“Yeah, he can stoke the fire, and give me a pan,” Shalom said.
Calima spoke excitedly to the man, who licked his lips nervously and nodded. He picked up more twigs and fed it into the embers, and then he took a fan and began blowing into the earthen fireplace. Soon, the smoke gave way to licking flames.
He took a huge metal pan and put it on the fire. Shalom washed the peeled tubers in a plastic container and put them in the pan and gestured the pouring of water. The man nodded, fetched some water and poured it on top.
“Salt?” Shalom asked, and Calima shouted.
The little man rushed to the cupboard and brought a transparent plastic container of salt, scooped a bit, and sprinkled it on the tubers, and then Shalom covered it. “What’s your name?” Shalom asked the little man. “Woyee?” he asked.
“Oh, ok, Woyee, glad to meet you,” he said, extending his hand.
“That’s not his name!” Calima shouted, bursting with laughter. “He was asking you what you meant! His name is Ntowhe.”
Shalom opened his mouth wide and gaped at the man.
“Herh, your name is Ntowhe?” he asked.
“Yeeye, Ntowhe, Ntowhe!” the man said, hitting his chest with pride.
Shalom giggled and shook the man’s hand.
“Do you have meat, or fish?” he asked. “Something we can eat the food with?” Calima spoke to Ntowhe, and he nodded excitedly and went to the short cupboard, opened it, and brought out a flat basket filled with some dark pieces of meat which he showed to Shalom.
Shalom took one look at the meat and then he screamed and slapped the man, and then he turned around and fled from the kitchen with fear. The little people burst into laughter, and some of the young boys and men chased him.
He ran to the edge of the fresh water lake by the elephant foot yam and stopped, bent and grabbed his knees. It had stopped raining now and he breathed hard. Calima came and stood at his side with a gentle smile on her face. She put her small hand on his thigh.
“I’m sorry, Shalom,” she said softly. “I forgot that you probably would have found that quite distasteful and strange. So sorry!”
“What’s wrong with you people?” he asked, still filled with horror. “That basket was filled with fried frogs and roasted cockroaches! Are you mad?” She shook her head sadly.
“When you’re hungry, the hunger becomes your seasoning for everything,” Calima said softly. “Our people are not allowed to farm, or to go out of here! Hunger forced us, Shalom, to eat anything we can get our hands on!”
“But you’re surrounded by food!” Shalom cried, still sickened and scared by the sight of so many fried frogs and roasted cockroaches. “Look at this huge fresh water filled with fish!”
“It doesn’t contain fish!” Calima said with fear and took a step back. “It contains fish that has whiskers like cats! Demon fish! We can’t even enter the water! Demons! So huge!”
Shalom looked at her with absolute shock.
“Ei, you people fool paaa o!” he said with a giggle. “Look, that is the flathead catfish, and I believe this species can be found in North America. I’m sure it is part of the Operation Feed Yourself project! They’re delicious and huge naturally! Ahhh, mbelefo! You can even noodle them!”
“Noodle?” Calima said with a scowl. “Like put them into noodles? Like macaroni?”
Shalom burst out laughing uproariously.
“Eyi, talia, talia mmom!” he cried. “No, no. Noodling is a type of hunting catfish by catching them with your hands. Wait, I’ll show you. First, you need to get out of your clothes that might snare on roots or rocks in the water and endanger you!” He straightened and quickly pulled off his trousers and T-shirt, causing the onlookers to gasp, and Calima to look at his beautiful body with sudden narrowed eyes.
“And then, you need to rub your hands with some mud to take away any scent of a human that can scare them!”
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