It was a cold night and as rumbles of thunder echoed in a distance, the lightenings chorused with flashes that brightened the dark skies that loomed over Mpraeso as torrents upon torrents descended upon the small town. Anyone in the days of Noah of ark and fame would have wondered whether the floodgates of heaven had broken loose. The smell of rich earth perfumed the air, mixed with the rich foliage of living green. This, every farmer knew was an indication that Asaase Yaa, who was believed to be the goddess of fertility, had visited them and that the imminent harvest season would be a bumper one. By now, most families in this small farming community would be huddling each other for warmth on such a night, but that was not the case for Opanin Nimo. At the very outskirt of the town stood his house, slightly shadowed by the two mango trees that stood on both sides, almost forming an entrance into his compound. His house stood askew like an abandoned child, away from the other homes in the town. Everything about the house, told a rending story of abject poverty. The only light shining was the faint light of the lantern on his porch. Though it was late, he stood at the entrance of the door, occasionally staring vacantly at the light from the lantern. Sweats of perspiration coursed down the contours of his wrinkled visage as he paced back and forth. Inside the only room which served as their chamber and hall, the village attendant, Maa Nto, affectionately known as the ‘Village Doctor’, was busily attending to Opanin Nimo’s wife, Maame Drowaa. For the very reason why their maiden child had chosen to come into the world on such a night, he could not tell but he was all ready to accept his first child. A week before, he remembered his wife had complained of some abdominal pains, but little did he know it was an indication of her impending delivery. He could not sit because of the many stories he had heard in the village when such moments came. He had heard of how some mothers never came back with their children and how other children survived without their mothers. For a reason he could not fathom, he found himself wallowing in a compendium of mixed feelings. While cold shivers run down his spine at the very thought that the unfortunate may happen, the fact that he was also about to be a father, kept his joy on the tenth notches, and as the unseen legs of time sped on, and he kept on pacing back and forth that night to calm his wracking nerves.
Soon the sound of cries broke the quietude of the night. “It’s a girl”, he heard the voice of the attendant called out. Breathing a gasp of relief, he dashed for the knob of the door with an agility that would have easily broken the record of Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man. At last the hurdle had been surmounted and tears of joy flooded his eyes as he carried the baby into his hands. After 8yrs of marriage, he too could now be called a ‘man’. They had suffered many years of pressure from both family and community members and had become the headline of morning ride shows in the village on several occasions. While some had accused Opanin Nimo of being impotent, Maame Drowaa was not spared the rumor of being labeled as barren. But who could blame these accusers? For it was in those days that when a woman failed to give birth early, it was considered a disgrace on the part of the man. Tradition also had it that, womanhood was determined by the number of progeny a woman had. Now, Opanin Nimo had proved to the gossips in Mpraeso that his wife was not barren after all. They could now count their blessings since the days of reproach were now over. “Onyankopon wu ye,” were the last words he uttered as he gently hugged the baby.
As he bent to hand over the baby to the mother, ‘Bam’ was all he heard, thereafter, a loud outcry. ‘What could be happening now? , he wondered. Though he wished to have gone out to see what the cause was, this was not the time to leave home. After all, it was still raining cat and dog so he decided to stay and enquire of what had happened the next day.
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