General Fiction posted January 1, 2017


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A baby is told to live as clean as a washed pangha.

Be as Clean as a Washed Pangha

by Lloyd T. Okoko

The sun had bearly risen from behind the tall palm trees across Taylor Creek. Somewhere not too far from the Baby Delivery Apartment of Zimoere, a presumably threatened squirrel was heard relentlessly mimicking bird alarms. Ififiyou, Oruere's husband escorted her to the door of the apartment. Oruere went inside while he waited outside in expectation of his unborn baby.

Akpaguma arrived with his wife, Akemabo. They walked to the door of the apartment where he left her and joined Ififiyou who greeted him happily.

"Are your waters filled up to their brim?" Ififiyou greeted Akpaguma.

"Yes, rising and overflowing with life!" Akpaguma responded gleefully. "And yours?"

"Replenished to the brim by Oyin who created us and gave to us our talents," Ififiyou replied.

Zimoere placed her hands on Oruere's stomach. She veered from the sides of her stomach to the navel area and stopped, betraying an urgent need.

"What?" Oruere inquired dumbfounded.

"Your baby is set to come,"Zimoere encouraged her her gleefully. "And I know that you are simply here to replicate your usual show of easy and safe delivery".

As it were, in affirmation of Zimoere's words, the talking drum housed by the totem-tree of the town started beating. It was sending signals to Woyengiarau, the custodian of the manifestation of goodness in the town.

"Very good! I can see the head coming! Go ahead and push!" Zimoere shouted at Oruere who earnestly exerted pressure on her womb. "Perfect push!" Zimoere jubilated receiving the baby with utmost care after Oruere had pushed it out from her womb. The baby started crying.

"Whose baby could that be? Yours or mine?" Akpaguma asked Ififiyou.

"The voice of the woman who screamed before the cry of the baby sounded like that of my wife," Ififiyou had hardly replied Akpaguma when Zimoere rushed out to acquaint them with the good news.

"Ififiyou! Its a boy!" She stuttered and rushed back into her apartment.

"Congratulations!" Akpaguma wished Ififiyou while simultaneously touching elbows with him. "Woyengiarau is here already to welcome the arrival of your son."

"They are her children." Ififiyou replied. "She owes them the duty of blazing the trail by which they would go through life without blemish."

"What suprises me about her is the promptness and accuracy with which she tracks the coming of everychild."

"Oyin who gave her the talent of their safe arrival and unblemished trip through life must have equally armed her with the wherewithal for perceiving their arrival without being told."

The front door to the Baby Delivery Apartment opened. Zimoere stepped out with Oruere carrying her baby-boy. They curtsied and paid obeisance to Woyengiarau. "We kneel to you, Venerable onea,"they chorused.

"Rise and let me have the baby." Woyengiarau said and left for the waterside closely followed by Ififiyou and Oruere. The trio end their procession at the waterside.

Woyengiarau lifted the baby toward the sky and started talking to it. "In the begining, God created the heavens and the earth with its array of waters. And it was all good. Yes! Good! My good son! The earth being part and parcel of this goodness accommodated all and enabled all to live together in harmony until man's introduction evil into their affairs caused them to go their separate ways." Woyengiarau shook her head ruefully and continued.

"While man continued in his wickedness here on the suface of the earth, the other of his neighbours decided to leave. Some left for the sky and others into the soil and waters that surround us. It was a terrible happening that called for expiation; the goal of which is to ensure that everychild, everyfather and everymother should be as clean as a washed "pangha". That is the essence of creation; to be born clean; work within a clean functional perspective and depart clean unto the birth-pool of "Oyin" who created all. I go before the waters now to cleanse you and pray for "Tamaran" to keep you clean all through your stay here on earth." Woyengiarau dipped the baby into the creek and swiftly pulled him out of the waters and continued speaking. "I have deeped you into the waters for your cleansing and renewed good relationship with the things of the waters, the sky, the earth and underneath the earth," she concluded and handed the baby to Oruere its mother.



Tell a baby who his family is. contest entry


***Pangha is an oblong shaped calabash used for drinking wine among the Ijaw speaking people of Nigeria. It is believed to be synonymous with purity.
***Oyin and Tamara are different levels of God. The former being all-encompassing while the latter has to do with only the spirit aspect of God.
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