On the Heels of the Hill

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Chapter 22: What's my daughter's name?

At 7pm, Kenyonyozi was mingling posho for their supper. They had fed on that sour posho for some weeks but they still needed to get it into their stomachs, without wanting to know how it tasted. Kenyonyozi’s children were all over her as usual. She held one on her laps, breast feeding her as she mingled. The others were all eagerly waiting for her to finish mingling so they could eat. They looked like young birds with open mouths waiting for their mother to feed them. Kenyonyozi had not cooked lunch. For her the nsenene was not the reason she didn’t cook lunch just like most other families that day, but because she didn’t have enough food and she had promised herself never to steal like her sister in law. Cris came into the kitchen with a wick lamp (tadooba) and placed it on a stool on the other side of the hearth so his mother could see what she was mingling. He moved his eyes all across his younger brothers and sisters, only to notice he couldn’t see one of them, one who was at least supposed to be there. The other two younger sisters and a brother were outside washing dishes but one of the “quadruplets” was missing.
“Mama, where is Girl?” he asked rhetorically. Cris was too tired of how his mother could not realize when one of her children wasn’t around. Cris sounded really irritated and he cleared the question for his mother, “How can you not see Girl is not around, Mama?” His mother disliked the question by showing an irritated face. She almost spoke back to Cris but she instead chose to keep quiet and continue mingling. Cris just picked the tadooba he had lit up for his mother and instead went with it out to look for his sister. His mother continued mingling. She seemed bothered but she needed to first get the others off her so she could set out to look for the missing daughter.

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