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WHY you DO WHAT you DO.
FOUR
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After the man left, I got to know the name of the man in charge of us.
His name was Emei.
Emei kept shouting. "Osowu!" even after the man left.
'Osowu' is a word used by the people when anything negative happens.
It could stand for "God forbid" "Evil" or "Abomination."

That evening, I found out that my uncle was shot with a local gun by the guards placed in charge of my mom, when they caught him escaping with her.

My mom who was weak, could not run far as she was caught and they were both dragged to the room.

The elders had an emergency meeting that evening and it was agreed that both siblings would be burnt alive for committing abominable acts the next day.
I could not have heard about the news if I had not heard Emei discussing about it secretly with his wife.

That night, we were in the house when some young men arrived.
"Where are the kids!" We could hear them ask Emei who had gone to answer them.
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They got into the house forcefully and took all the children outside.
One of them was familiar with the man's children so he separated us and they carried my siblings and I away.

They took us to the council and the elders ordered the men to place us (the children) in a room.
"They must witness the burning tomorrow." One of the men said and they all agreed.
"Yes! Otherwise they would not know the gravity of the offences." another man added.

Baby and Angela were crying as the men carried us and dropped us in a room with just a mat and a lamp in a corner.
Baby cried herself to sleep despite me trying to calm her down.
Angela cried until she was tired before sleeping off too and all I could do was to worry about the next day.
I could not sleep that night.
I was afraid.
Afraid that the men might kill us that night.

We woke up the next morning to just ourselves in the room.
I could not stop worrying about what would happen the next minute.
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Then a few minutes later, the door opened and three hefty men came in and carried us away, with my little sisters carrying and yelling.
I tired so hard to fight but I could not withstand the strong arms that scooped me.

They carried us to the village square and I was surprised to see the people gathered.
I prayed silently that it was not what I thought.

Then I saw my mom and uncle tied to two separate trees.
My mom was crying bitterly.
Angela and Baby broke into tears at their sight and I could not hold it anymore.
I began to cry too. I tried running towards them but I was held back by the man who carried me there.

My siblings were held too.
Angela made several attempts but could not get off.
Then she bit the man carrying her so hard that he dropped her in pain and she took off, running towards mom but she had not even gone halfway before she was caught.

The man carrying her was queried for letting the little girl off his grip.

One of the elders finally steped forward and turned to the people.
"Omoikpa!"
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"Kapoi!" The people responded.
"Today we have gathered to witness another Epei. Evil as we know must not be spared."

The people muttered an agreement.

The man continued, pointing towards my mother and uncle.
"These two have walked against the law of the land and as required, they must be punished by burning!" He paused. "Let the law take it's place and judgement be given." latest 2019 prom party wears in tea length

Immediately he said that, four youths marched from the back singing loudly, holding matchets.
Their face were covered in native chalk and the only clothing they had on, was a piece of clothing tied on their loins.

They marched round my mother and uncle four times before stopping.
When they stopped, the elder who had given a go-ahead, came forward again.
"The hand that doth evil shall be cut forth from the earth!"
"Ahee!" The men responded throwing the matchet in the air and two of the men stepped forward.
One standing by my mom and the other by my uncle.
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Raising the matchet in the air, they brought it down on their right arm, cutting it off.
My sisters and I screamed our lungs off at the sight of blood gushing off from our uncle and mother.

It was a tradition that before the burning, the fellows were to have their arms cut off, to sweep evil off the land.

They did the same to their left arms.

My mother and uncle were crying uncontrollably.
"I am innocent!" Was all my mom kept wailing.
Then she started cursing.

"The soul that doth evil shall perish." The man concluded and at those words, the youths set fire on them.

I never really thought that would happen.
I never thought my mom and uncle, would die that way.

I watched my mother and uncle burn to death.
That day I swore to avenge their death and never to have any dealings with the villagers.

The men held us down, and ensured we watched it all happen.
They thought it was a way of sweeping evil from the land but if only they knew better.
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If only it all ended there.

A judgement was later passed to us the kids.

One that affected our lives forever.
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Next episode coming right up on Monday.
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LADY R
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