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Malaika
by Olive Lawino   (Author)
Read First Three Chapters

PROLOGUE

The young woman stumbled along the thin winding path that she came upon by accident. Hope filled her heart as she realized this could mean something different from what she had gotten accustomed to. The discovery surged in her the will to stay alive, to survive.
Dressed in nothing but only a shredded dress she had worn for the past weeks or maybe months she could not remember, she roamed the wild braving endless bites and stings from bloodthirsty insects. Her skin was blotchy from accumulated dirt mixed with her sweat. Her hair was locked in dreads and unkempt. The once unforgettable beauty was now a shadow, a complete veil.
In a silent plea, she offered a heart wrenching prayer to God to give back her dwindling energy, for she needed it to survive the cruel hands of the wild.
Lost in the middle of nowhere, she wondered the vast empty plain of Anaka to no avail as chances of finding any form of human settlement diminished with every step she made. Hunger and thirst warned her of starvation and dehydration but even if she was that feeble, the thought of searching for food filled her with a hidden dread.
Nothing was as important as carrying on with the journey.
Then time went by and every attempt of finding the right direction saw her rotating hopelessly within the same area. Total panic replaced her initial rapture. She had trusted that she needed no guide to the outside world. How irrational! The bush had been her home for years but even so, she should have known it still held her a stranger in some ways. But there was no time for wishful thinking and regrets she had to make it. Determined, she encouraged her beaten mind while ignoring the merciless gnarls of hunger and weariness pulling her down to gloom.
Dragging each step with a painful persistence, she wobbled past various figures of dwarfed herbage interfused with a few giant trees oblivious to the changing weather. The day which begun with a pleasant sunshine had all of a sudden turned gray, as dark weighty clouds rolled aggressively in the late afternoon sky.
Ultimately, she consented to the burden that outweighed her body. Slowly, the life in her began to fade and she gladly submitted to the peaceful tide that beckoned her troubled self. It did not matter anymore if the winged creatures that trailed her snail pace movement now hovered above in circles. Home was all she envisaged. She wanted to once again feel its warmth and comfort, to place her head on her mother's warm bosom during the evening gatherings around the fire. She longed for her cosy cooking place, and for the endless squatting in front of the boiling soup while poking now and then at the fire, amidst her mother’s admonishing.
The first strike ended her pleasant reverie. The peck from the savage beak of the vulture woke her up to reality. She caught a glimpse of several in the air, their sight propelling her to a defensive stance. The ugly ravenous creatures would not devour her while still alive! She staggered away from the deathly hill. The thick rain clouds that had held the heavens captive had cleared by then; chased away by the winds, leaving only a flimsy line of clouds in the evening sky.
As the day grew longer, so did the threat to her life. Careless from weariness, she did not see the tree stump jutting in a menacing trap. She stumbled and fell clumsily. Defiant, she struggled to get up, however the earthward forces sucked her right back to the ground. But no, she had just escaped from another form of death, from oppressive captivity. She had survived it for years therefore; she would not relent to this threatening form without a fight. She dared the hungry forces but the hard flat ground horribly sucked her into it. No, she was not ready to die for in her mind’s eye she saw a future ahead for her—the dream of success…. There was a lot to do, simply so much to accomplish. A strange boost of energy shot her up but not far from the place of her last fall, her foot again caught a tangle sending her flat on her stomach.
It was an arduous, muddled up, entrance into the world of dreams that she passed into. Like a spirit being, she floated from above and watched a vaguely familiar setting. They were people that she must have known from time long gone. Two children were fighting over a walking stick. She sensed a strong connection with the older child. The younger child cried and threw herself about; she wanted the walking stick all to herself. The shy smiling older girl refused to let go. A tall thin woman walked out of the hut and intervened in favour of the crying child; and so did the three women who walked by. The older girl began to cry but no one gave her comfort. Tears having washed away the hurt afterwards, she embarked on a plan.
Loosing was not a part of her.
She soon sat alone in the family cassava garden, relaxed. It did not take her long to locate the best of the already dug up stems. With her sharp knife and for hours she sat alone and worked up the stick to a desired taste. She could not wait to display her achievement to the rest. She then marched down the road to her home with the proudest grin on her face.
The others were sitting outside as she approached, the stick in her right hand proudly tapping the ground with every step she made. It was awe at first, and then blissful roars that welcomed her. She was a clever girl, very smart the women patted her on the back. And she welcomed their praise with contentment.
It was towards the wee hours of the morning that the man on the makeshift bed bolted up. She could see that his eyes were heavy from sleeplessness. He reached his hand to her forehead. ''Does it hurt?'' He asked.
She blinked then shook her head; there was no pain, but she felt drained. It was as if her inside had been sucked out, leaving only a spongy component within.
“You feel empty.”
She nodded. He had read her right. The old man reminded her of someone. He brought out the hidden memory in a way that she could not understand yet. In his company, she felt safe. A sensation of wanting to cry arose in her but nothing gathered in her eyes. She was glad. She was not going to allow such weaknesses to consume her. Tears; they were not for the likes of her, the Lakwena taught them to be hard.
She was still struggling with her internal muddle when he announced he was going out to fetch more herbs that would help relieve her suffering. His words interrupted her on going thoughts, and she was glad for the break. She allowed her eyes to roam the enclosure of the plain but effectively clean hut. A central pole glimmering with a smoothness that must have resulted from continual touching and maturity supported the hut. She thought she saw her own distorted reflection sparkle on the pole. The serene congenial setting about the hut brought some peace to her.
He was back as fast as he had made his announcement, his arms laden with several roots. “These will bring you back to your feet, young woman.”
“Malaika,” she managed to speak in a low grating voice.
“Malaika,” he briefly pondered over the name then said. “Mzee Nyeko is what they called me.”
“You saved my life.” She struggled to sit up.
“Here, let me help you.” He chuckled, flashing out long even teeth.
She felt light headed, and her feet were heavy on the floor. However, when a strong hand guided her to the wall for support, she fel

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Product Details
Author: Olive Lawino
Publication date: 9/26/2014
Pages: 181
Product dimensions: 424 x600
More About This eBook
Overview
When young beautiful and ambitious Malaika gets abducted on that fateful day on her way to the Primary day School, little did she know that the Lord’s Resistance Rebel Army operating in Northern Uganda was to divert her path to a gruesome journey: a journey that would see her compromise her moral value, that would open doors to conflicting soul searching questions and that would eventually lead her back to the place that she must return to in order to get her healing-to the war torn home that she had forsaken.
Editorial Reviews
About Author
Olive Lawino grew up in war torn northern Uganda. Amidst dangerous rebel activities she went to school and finished from Makerere University Business School in Bachelor of Catering and Hotel Management. Her first work Malaika was selected among the most promising by the Kenyan literary prize the Kwani 2013. She also worked with Mango Utl in sales and customer care, Uganda Television as a Presenter, Radio King as a News Reader, co-host of a morning variety show and Saturday morning children’s show. Her works of writings appeared in the Oyeng-yeng, the New vision and the observer Newspapers.
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Malaika
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Tuesday, January 20th 2015

By Airende Emiaghe

The book wears appropriately the nostalgia garment that fits it. The author crafts the words for the emotions and has the skill to bring them out like drops of water.

Excellent write-up I would say.

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Tuesday, January 20th 2015

By Airende Emiaghe

The book wears appropriately the nostalgia garment that fits it. The author crafts the words for the emotions and has the skill to bring them out like drops of water.

Excellent write-up I would say.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Was this review helpful to you?