~~~ Night Has Fallen in the Afternoon ~~~
Chapter 10 -- A Man's Ikenga [household god, symbol of personal worth]

Like the dog that saw someone with a fat stomach and then followed behind him, thinking that if that person did not defecate he would vomit, in that way I want everyone to be following these traditions, because one who did not go to school does not go and teach.

Anyone who did not perform the nsi uwa and the nsi ekwensu [medicine of evil] in Igboland does not own an ikenga, because the elders say that if the first child does not walk, the second one is not able to run.

After a person finishes these two stages of nsi, he goes and tells a carver to carve an ikenga for him to use in doing the real nsi.

Anyone who has not built his own house does not own an ikenga, because a person does not take his ikenga and put it in someone else's house.

When the person obtains his ikenga, he puts palm fronds around it, and rubs chalk on his eyes. He buys wine, pours some out, then drinks the rest. He kills a chicken and spreads the chicken's blood on it.

Nonyerem had finished the nsi uwa and the nsi ekwensu. He then went and told the carver to carve an ikenga for him. Then he called together his kith and kin and friends and told them that he wanted them to come to his house on Nkwo day, because he would celebrate his ikenga on that day.

He told them that it was good for a person to remember work time, but he should also remember feasting time, because the dog said that if each person falls down for the other, it makes the game be respected and it proceeds smoothly.

They then agreed and told him one by one that they would come, because a great famine was breaking out, and not everyone could find even an oil palm nut to eat.

Nonyerem then got up early in the morning and went to the homes of Nweke Zelobo and Anakulunwoji, and took raffia palm wine. But he took oil palm wine to Ifeadike's house.

After that, he went to Nkwo Agu market and bought two young cocks.

His mother, Ugonwa, had already gone to market on Eke day and bought peeled and dried cassava for them to prepare for those they had invited to come and eat and drink.

After dawn broke and the sun was high in the sky, people started coming one by one, both invited and uninvited, because one who gathers firewood full of ants is telling the lizards to come and stay a while.

Ugonwa and those she had told to come and help her in preparing the food then gathered in the kitchen, cooking and laying aside food. Some of the invitees had arrived lugging along one keg of wine each.

Nonyerem then draped palm fronds around the neck of his ikenga, sprinkled the blood of the two chickens on it, broke a kola nut and threw it on, and also sprinkled wine on it. He then took four yams and peeled them, took them and all the chickens and cooked yam soup.

When they had finished cooking it, they all partook of it and drank the wine. Nonyerem's mother then brought out a large tray of cassava she had prepared with sardines in it, and everyone ate and drank wine.

They then thanked Nonyerem and his father Ezeonyekwelu and his mother Ugonwa, and told them that whoever had done the pounding had pounded well, and whoever had done the cooking had cooked well. Those people then departed.

Starting from that day, Nonyerem celebrated his ikenga any time he could or any time it brought him good luck.

~~ *TO CHAPTER 11* ~~


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