Akuuwa -- Leader of the
Church of the Holy Spirit
(In the house of a prophet. It is morning. Akuuwa wakes up, chewing on his chewing-stick. His wife, Sera, enters; they start to talk about the church service they will attend that morning.)
Akuuwa: (Sighs deeply.) Today's prayer...
Sera: Today's prayer, what happened?
Akuuwa: Sera, my wife, I feel so weak today. If it were not for the need to work in order to eat, I would have felt like resting today.
Sera: Master, do you rest because we have become rich, or what? Don't you also know that the ear does not rest if the jaw is still chewing something? Has this laziness come back again? It was also laziness that made them let you go from your Company job!
Akuuwa: All the time you talk about laziness, laziness. Talk about things you know something about. I told you that it was Ahumibe's accusation against me, saying that I took bribes, that made them fire me. I don't want to hear this type of talk from your mouth again. (He is silent for a little while.) Ibe! Ibe!!
Ibe: (Runs in.) I'm here.
Akuuwa: Some people said that they were going to come before the church service starts, so we can pray for them. Go and see if they have come. (Ibe goes out.)
Sera: Who are those people you are expecting so specially? Go and have your bath so you will be ready to go.
Akuuwa: Woman, leave me alone. Why hurry to lick your finger, are you going to fold your hands on the shelf?
Sera: If I have to tell you again to have your bath, you will know that it was not Okonkwo [her own father] who gave birth to me. [That is, I own myself -- I am a woman of my word.]
Akuuwa: Have you prepared water for my bath? (He gets up and goes to bathe as Ibe enters.) Ibe, have they come?
Ibe: Sir! Adamma and her young sister are there. It has been a long time since they arrived.
Akuuwa: Really! Go quickly and get me my prayer garment. (Ibe enters the house and fetches the prayer garment.)
Sera: Who is Adamma, expecting you so early this morning? Is this why you are not going to bathe this morning? (Akuuwa ignores her. Ibe enters and starts to hand him his garment. Sera forcibly snatches the garment from him. Ibe quietly slips out.) Haven't you heard my question? Is it that you don't know who Adamma is? Adamma! Adamma! Adamma whose razor is sharp for shaving men's heads. [Refers to Adamma's reputation for bad behavior toward men.] Heei! Please, what is your business with Adamma?
Akuuwa: Sera, my good woman (gently), is it really you talking like this? Have you forgotten what is written in the Bible?
Sera: What is written in the Bible? Does the Bible tell you that Adamma came and you should not have your morning bath?
Akuuwa: Have you forgotten what is written in the Bible where Christ said that he came because of sinners and not because of the righteous? He also said that a healthy person does not need a doctor. She wants me to say prayers for her.
Sera: That bird that cries and a human being dies, don't cry again. [Don't give me that same old story.]When death wants to take the dog it doesn't let him smell feces; did the things that bad young women did to you in your work as teacher not teach you anything? Rub your eyes. Think for yourself. The world is a fearful place.
Akuuwa: (In a soft voice.) Sera! Don't allow enemies to hear what you are saying. Hide me like the pumpkin hides its fruit. Haven't you had any faith that since we have entered into the Lord, my life has changed? That's enough. Let me go and bathe and let's not quarrel. (He rises and goes to bathe.)
Sera: (Sits down, looking around, thinking about what she is going to do.) Oh dear! What kind of husband have I married? When a person has something happen once and then it happens again, will he not learn some sense from it? If you shoot once and hit a tree, shoot a second time and hit a tree, was it the tree that carved the arrow? In the two years he worked as a teacher, the only thing he did was to chase after women like the cattle egret follows the cow around. He kept on living this type of life, got Aghaulo's wife pregnant, and then he was sacked. Which story shall I tell and leave out the rest? Is it the night journeys he used to go on when he worked for the Company? Or is it his constant drunkenness when he drank himself silly? When we started this prayer house I thanked God that everything was well. But now--hewuu! And now I discover that the thing that makes a muskrat smell is inside his body; if it had been outside his body, the rain would have washed it away. All right, let me be watching him and Adamma. (She rises and goes out in anger.)
The lights go out.
-- on to Act Two --