Umakoti and the suitcase 3/4

By Drum Digital
23 November 2013

MaGasela and SiKhoma sat in their chairs as if immobilised.

Anita struggled to break smaller twigs from the thickly cut firewood in the metal bucket next to the stove. A splinter cut into her cuticle and she screamed. At last, after what seemed like endless stoking and two boxes of matches, the fire got going. But only because she’d emptied the contents of a paraffin lamp into the coal stove. Anita felt quite pleased with herself. But that didn’t last long.

Soon after she’d sorted out the coal stove, she heard the voices of people approaching. She had forgotten that farm people woke up a lot earlier than town folk. She suddenly remembered she had a gaggle of relatives she’d never met. Now what to do? She couldn’t very well stand around greeting the whole Maseko family in her sleepwear. Her beautiful pink ensemble was looking a little grubby from her encounter with the coal stove but at least the hot water was sorted out.

At the same time it would be rude to dash off and leave all these people standing in the middle of the kitchen. She was the honoured guest, after all. She had to say something, not just stand there with a mouth full of teeth. “Mama, Tata, your water is ready now. I wondered if I could sort out your baths first before I start with breakfast for my new family.” Anita looked at her father-in- law for reassurance and he nodded. She dashed into her room and sighed with relief. At least here she had some privacy.

She grabbed her cell phone, punched in Lwando’s speed dial number and launched into a tirade as soon as he answered. “Lwando, you won’t believe what just happened! Everybody’s here and I’m nowhere near ready. I have to fix them breakfast and don’t know where to start. I don’t even know what your grandparents eat for breakfast ...Yes, it’s here ...yes, and I’m listening. Okay, I’ll try.” Following his instructions, Anita opened the second suitcase and quietly thanked Lwando for his thoughtfulness.

Oh, how she loved that man! The suitcase was full of useful things. She picked up the small notebook that lay inside and read it quickly. Then she got dressed and confidently made her way to the kitchen. By now all the relatives had congregated in the living room which gave her the chance to set about doing what she needed to do. She thanked her lucky stars the stove was still roaring.

To be continued...

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