On the Heels of the Hill

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Chapter 20: Rain Maker

On hearing about the reward for his services, Rukondere Eshenda didn’t even get time to bargain. He put off his shirt and only kept in his long dirty brown and torn trousers, folded slightly above the ankles and fastened in the waist with a dry banana reed. You could easily read and mark all the ribs on his chest. He looked like someone that one would blow away with just a whistle, just like blowing off a candle. He stood in Rooza’s compound, in the rain, looked up in the skys as it heavily showered on him, jumped up and down several times as he warmed up for his new job. He then seemed to be redirecting the rain with his hands as they swayed from one direction to another, amidst uttering out some words that could not be heard. He then started off like lightening and run to Nalongo’s house, did the same thing in Nalongo’s compound and then went behind Nalongo’s house, stood between the main house and the kitchen, got out his red handkerchief and started swaying it in the air several times. He looked really tired as he did all this. He must have sweated a lot but no one could tell between the sweat and the rain water on him. He didn’t give up and kept altering his hands as he swayed the handkerchief until suddenly, a very heavy thunder was heard rumbling. Darius, Ronah, Brian and Ruth were stimulated by the thunder and they suddenly closed the kitchen door and Rukondere Eshenda realized he had been watched all along. He then disappeared behind the kitchen and on opening the kitchen door again, these youngsters couldn’t see him again. They then went back to the fireplace only to realize all the nsenene had burnt to black. They then immediately started plucking another set of nsenene so Nalongo didn’t have to over wait to serve omwaka to her guests. But she would have to first serve her husband Omwaka before serving the guests. Nalongo’s husband had gone to Kampala to work and she had to improvise by substituting her husband with her first son, Brian. She had been introduced to the Kinyankole tradition that if a man is not around, the first son is always the head of the family.

At school, the head master had heard sounds in the construction store which was next to his mud and wattle house. He had thought thieves were stealing the construction materials. He had put on his Jacket, braved the rains to go find out what was happening. The sound of the thunder was coincidental with the push of the door made of pieces of left over ironsheets on the room. The headmaster then fed his ever blinking eyes on a feast of the flesh. He didn’t have to blink again to recognize what he had seen. Peter bent down and grabbed his khaki shorts and off through the back window again he jumped and disappeared in the in the thick banana plantations. Tinfayo stood there in the corner of the room, still holding her dress up in the air. It seemed almost like she was calling on the headmaster to buy her goods. Africans believe in what they see and the headmaster had just fed his eyes on the temptation. It was totally up to him to either believe what he had seen or not. Tinfa’s eyes had reddened. She looked like a cobra poised and ready to strike. She kept her eyes glued on the headmaster that had just scared off her

Suddenly, the rain stopped, lightning and thunder now took over. Rukondere Eshenda came and entered Nalongo’s house through the front door and everyone was happy to see him. He had had his reputation all around the villages for his rain making expertise, but what most of these people didn’t know was that someone among them had sought his services, and he was the one Rukondere Eshenda was looking for. He smiled back at them and headed on to another room, just adjacent to Nalongo’s room, which was locked with a Tri Circle padlock. There the men were, before he asked for his reward, he was asked to sit down and given a long wooden hollow straw to suck in from the pot with them. Rukondere Eshenda however wanted his reward for just himself

“My reward is my reward and sitting and drinking here with you is not a reward, but just socializing with you and that would be free. You wouldn’t need me to do anything for you to drink with you. What have you paid all these crooks here?” Rukondere Eshenda expressed his disgust and the mention of crooks didn’t go well with the other men who suddenly stood up as if they wanted to fight him, “Crooks? Really?” one of them asked. However, Milton cooled all the men down and asked Rukondere Eshenda to look in the nook of the door with his right hand, to see what was there. “That’s your reward. Job well done! Now sit down here and be a crook, then just take your reward with you. I brought all the beer here. I ran back home in the rain and brought it all here because I wanted my friends to enjoy.” Rukondere Eshenda then accepted to drink with them and all the women were retired.

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