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The consultation at Melim By Irinus Mbuwir, Alias Satz
This story is in memory of his father Mbuwir Anthony who died 4 years ago....
The consultation at Melim(Story based on fact)
I still remember very vividly the almost fatal mysterious torments I went through back in the early 90s, shortly after I turned 18.
For a long and tedious time, my nights turned into a continuous series of nightmares. As soon as I went to sleep, I would find myself in a frightful dream, always a dreadfully looking and haggard hag chasing me after having mysteriously drained me of all my courage to the extent that even the noise from my own breathing could frighten me.
This courage-drain was always followed my being plunged into some strange immobile suffocating state, and released thereof only at the critical second beyond which I would certainly die.
My father had done almost everything, but in vain. Every traditional doctor around had given him something to give me, but this woman always had her way.The latest effort of Pa Mbuwir was a portion he got from one powerful Ngaashiv at Nsom.
As he applied it to my face that night, he told me that Paa of Nsom was the terror of witches. He was said to have exterminated a clan of wizards in a kingdom around the Bamoun land.
‘Your troubles have come to an end’, he assured me, signs of uncertainty lingering visibly on his face. ‘if she touches you again, she would have herself to blame. Go to sleep and see what I mean’, he concluded as he left my room.
Hardly had I gone to sleep than I got into a strange dream in which Tom and I were playing around one steep and dark valley. As I turned to hold Tom’s hand, I had suddenly discovered he was nowhere to be found. In the place of my dear friend, I found myself facing a strange old woman with no teeth in her mouth. She was getting ready to chase me, and that is how I was plunged once more, despite Paa of Nsom’s lotion, into another fit of torturous struggle.
Very early in the morning, I knocked on my father’s door and announced to him that the woman had visited me again last night.
Stretched beyond tolerance in his role to protect his favourite son, my father showed up in my room shortly before I went to sleep the followingnight, looking very dangerous. He handed over a little and dirty fibred sac to me and addressed me in a grave tone.
‘I did not want to do this, but this woman has pushed me too far. This is the Kibam ke Ngang(the magic sac of the Ngang Juju). Hang it on that nail above your bed. All along, I had not wanted to do anything that may result in her death, but if she dares touch you again, we will be burying her before midday’, he announced proudly.
He clearly manifested such confidence in the kibam that I hugged it in great relief, suddenly believing that for the first time in more than a year, I would know a peaceful night and sound sleep.
In the early hours of that rather calm morning, I was brutally woken from a troubled sleep by a very hard kick on the tiny door of my room.
‘Did she come again last night?’ , I dreamily heard my father ask, almost too loudly.
I could not help looking at my father with tearful pity. He had almost done everything to protect me from this witch.
‘Yes Baa’, I answered, knowing instantly that the ‘she’ was referring to the supposed old woman, a very strong witch.
‘You mean that she overcame the kibam ke Ngangthat I hung on your bed last night? Oh- oooo! She has made a bad error this time around. Dare to transgress the kighev shuu bag? Wait and see what happens to her before midday today….’
From that moment, some wild excitement began to build up in me. So this woman was going to die before midday? I decided that I would go to visit my grandmother at Kibai, and only come back when I heard a gun announce the witch’s death before noon.
It was about 6 pm that that when I yawned and started going back home from Kibai. I had heard no sound of a gunshot all day long. Back at our house, I approached my father.
‘Baa, did she die?’
‘Get away from here! Lum ki tuu moo wo kibaranko!’, my father barked at me. He looked very furious and almost twice his head. Clearly, that Yaa was no where near dying.
‘We are going to Melim very early tomorrow morning’, my father announced. ‘since she is taking too long to die, we shall go to Biki of Laanghah, and before we come back to Nkar, this woman will not be alive’
I did not know what to believe any more. I had however learnt that biki of Laanghah in Melim was the strongest witch hunter in the whole Nso Land. Why did my father never think of prayers when he went to church everyday.
‘Baa, can we not ask Fara Charles to come and drive this woman away?’, I asked.
‘Go and prepare for the Melim journey tomorrow! What do you know about God and the Devil?’, was all I received as answer.
Before the cock crew for the second time the following day, my father and I were already at Nseeni, a few kilometers from Melim.
‘One thing I forgot to tell you’, my father cautioned, ‘is that your own hands will need to be clean if Biki shall help you. If you are a wizard yourself, you might not come back alive because you will be taken to Biki’s shrine’
Now this was frightful! All of a sudden, I did not know whether I was a wizard or not. How could I prove it?
‘How do people know they are witches?’, I asked my father.
‘When you are not a witch, you know it’, he said not looking at me. ‘Sometimes you yourself behave like a wizard, and this has been bothering me a lot’, he finished, completely shocking me.
So I have been behaving like a witch?
It is in this confusion that we arrived the healing theatre of Biki woo Langhaa.
Little did I know a traumatizing accusation was waiting for me there. Something that strained relations between with my dad for a very long time.
As we entered Biki’s shrine, I saw a malnourished man, stepping out of the door and clapping his hands in apparent protest to something.
‘Why do they want to take these twins from me?’, the man wondered aloud. ‘If this woman’s problem is savon, why can she not come and askme directly? Were my twins there when the farm of Taa Kov was seized from her grand father? If Biki were not here, where would we live?’, he kept talking aloud to himself.
As we stooped and entered Biki’s shrine, the latter murmured ‘Welcome’ , without looking at us.
Shortly after, he turned round and looked quietly at me for an uncomfortably long time. I was so much on edge that I started sweating profusely. What if I was a wizard? From the way he was looking at me, I was clearly a wizard. Would I leave this place alive? May be I should just get up and run very fast back to Nkar? Yes, that was the solution.
Before I could get up to try to run away, Biki beckoned to my father to come closer. I heard him ask my father what was wrong with me. I gathered more courage and stayed to listen.
‘He has been behaving strange these days’ my father started, shocking me again. ‘I would conclude that he is not ok in the head. That, in addition to the problem of the Yaa who is ‘eating’ him up everyday’
What was all this about? How could my father say I was mad? I knew very well that I was not mad.
Biki snuggled closer to my father and whispered something for a long time in his ears. I saw them both shaking their heads as if something fatal had happened.
He gave something in a little lizard-skin sac to my father and waved us out. We stepped out of Biki’s compound in silence and moved like that till we reached Nseeni. I was very very impatient to know what had transpired between them. I did not however expect the answer I received from my father when I asked what Biki had told him.
‘Baa, has Biki said that woman will not come again? What did he tell you that made you so sad and worried?’, I began.
My father stopped moving. He pulled me closer to him and looking very strange, he began to talk in a weired tone.
‘ I will not tell your mother about it, ok? Just be honest and tell me who this other lady is. I had earlier warned you that you should go to Biki with clean hands, but you did not tell me there was another woman in the whole problem’
‘Which woman???????????????????????’, I almost shouted to my father. What are you talking about?
‘I promise not to tell your mother, if only you tell me who the woman is that has been spoiling you’
‘Yes! Stop pretending!’, he could not control his anger anymore.
‘Biki says you slept with a woman whose blood is stronger than yours! How could you do this at your age, Tankar? I could have ‘licked your medicine’ anywhere, without knowing you were doing such a terrible thing. Is it Tom who taught you this? I know he has been doing such things at Berr…..’
For the first time in my life, I got very disappointed with my father. And for the very first time, I knew all these soothsayers are gamblers, no matter how they seem to help in some cases.
For God’s sake I had not slept with anyone.I was a very pure virgin and that I could swear before God and man. Tom and Ihad tried to forcefully embrace Beri of Rohmbii, and that had landed us in serious trouble. As far as I remembered, that was the most I had done in my sexual life so far.
I suddenly felt very weak. I had not even had any food since morning. I sat down on the road and began to cry aloud. This was not just. How could my father believe all of this? What would I tell my mother? The whole village would learn of it, knowing my father.
‘Get up and let’s go’, he begged me. ‘ I will not tell anyone, ok? I know it is not of your making. I know my son very well. You must have been raped by that woman. I have forgiven you already, right? Get up and stop crying…..’
‘Baa, Biki is a liar! He should be ashamed of himself. I will never take any of those your potions again. Leave me to die. Let that Yaa kill me, but I don’t want you to help me anymore…..’
I suddenly just ran away from my father, so fast he could not catch up with me. I took a different road to Nkar and when I arrived, I did not talk to anyone. I carried my clothes and went straight to my grandmother at Kibai. My darling grandmum who always had some yam for me to eat.
I sat passively and powerlessly on her weak leg as she carried me despite her age. As she wiped tears from my eyes, I could hear her bathe me once more in the familiar praises: ‘Wan woo Seem Anyar, Wan woo Nkala Kov, Wan woo Vikeng, Wana daa Bui Daa Mbim, Wana Yer Wunaa Denghi, Wan….’
(May the Soul of Paa Mbuwir Anthony Rest in Perfect Peace)