Hello everyone, It has been a hell of a time here in Nigeria. No light, well we are use to that, Nigeria does not give light to its citizens, so because of it people rely on generators which most can only afford to use in the night time because of the price of fuel. Recently there has been a gas shortage here so to get fuel for our generator (which we run all day, I cannot take the heat) was hard, or rather damn near impossible. However the Araba (mi husband) got some and here I am again live and in living color!
Today’s topic will be on Obeah. I have written many topics on it before but I feel that there can be no such thing as “too” much to learn, do you all agree? I did a wonderful post sometime ago read here, which I believe flew over many of the bloggers head. I was disappointed, since I thought it was a great post, and the message within the story was clear. Here is hoping that this yet anther post done in story form (this is how I love to teach) will somehow make you all understand Obeah a little bit more and not condemn it as much. Please read Smithy and miss Jane story, (not a true story but one I made up to teach you guys) for a clearer understanding into the mystery of Obeah.
Smithy was a man who was quiet all the time. He spoke when he was spoken to, always polite, yet he hardly smiled. He was 63 years old and had lived a rough life, but he took all that life handed to him in stride and did not complain. His mother had fourteen children of which Smithy was the ninth and she had given him away because she was unable to care for them all.He had made his way back home to her after suffering ill treatment at the hands of whom she had given him to every time and the last time he came back home to her, he remembered her sighing and saying to him. “Is alright mi son, mi nah give yuh away again”, he was fourteen years old by then.
When Smithy turned twenty one years old he became a father to a boy child he called Everton. The mother was a local girl around his community while Smithy worked at the flour mill. Theirs was a short lived relationship however because Smithy had caught her sitting in the lap of the land lord with his hand around her while they romped and laughed as lovers did. He ended the relationship and being a man of few words, walked away peacefully although he kept connected to his son Everton by way of visiting him and financial support and for a while all was well for the soft spoken non talkative Smithy who later got laid off from his job at the mill and moved away to Kingston where he felt better prospects lied.
Smithy had learned a trade while in Kingston and that was as a shoe maker. It was not an easy living, but he was a simple man and just worked to feed himself and send what he could for Everton his son whom he loved so much. Eventually Everton came to live with Smithy and father and son were happy with each other, Everton worked a good job, while Smithy continued with shoe making and repairs.
Everton was able to buy a small house and he and his father fixed it and lived there until Eveton got Millicent pregnant and moved her in to live with he and his father. Millicent had a son and the called him Dexter. When Millicent gave birth, her mother came from the country to live with them and help out with the new born as Millicent worked as a nurse at the local medical center.
Miss Jane, who was Millicent’s mom came to the house and immediately disliked the living arrangements there. The house had three bedrooms a living room, kitchen and a small dining hall along with a veranda and a very big back yard. Miss Jane did not like the fact that Smithy lived with the couple and quietly complained to Millicent. “Is why dis big ole man living here, is how oonuh private Millie?, she asked her daughter.
Millicent expressed to her mother that she was not too fond of the idea also but that Everton loved his father and really the old man went on about his business and did not bother anyone.
Miss Jane, sighed inside her mind, but she still held on to her thoughts that she did not like Smithy, and worse she had the smallest room in the house. Miss Jane’s dislike for Smithy showed in how she treated and spoke to him, which irritated Everton who warned Millicent to warn her mother not to disrespect his father who bothered no one. Millicent who sided with her mother silently, promised to speak to the mother but instead would urge her on to do as she did to Smithy. Miss Jane would cook food and leave nothing for Smithy, she would make sure to hide the iron when he wanted to press anything or she would shout at him if she wanted to use the bathroom and he took too long. She had bad words to say to him, such as, “Big old man like you living off yuh son”, Smithy never answered her, nor did he ever complain to his son.
Miss Jane unbeknownst to Everton, but suspected by Smithy, knew a thing or two about Obeah and she decided to give her daughter the upper hand in the relationship with Everton. Miss Jane decided that Millicent should “tie” Everton to her and turn his mind against the father whom Everton loved so much. She told her daughter the plan and Millicent who always complied with her mom agreed but wanted to know if Everton would ever find out, she was assured that all would be well, she should have no fear.
Smithy knew the woman Miss Jane was a devil in disguise, but he trusted God that he had no crimes that he had committed to another human being, he did not bother people and so he believed that she could not harm him nor his son. It made him sad however that this woman came to the house that he and his son had worked hard to obtain and instead of coming with peace she came to destroy. He was wizened to her malevolence and said silent prayers to God for the safety of is son and grand son.
One night, (the night before Miss Jane was to tie her daughter to Everton) Smithy has a vision that his sweet mother came to him in a dream and gave him some nutmeg, thyme and some leaves among them was some poison bush to mix and give to Everton to drink. The mother told him not to delay in doing this as danger was near.
That night Smithy could not sleep, he wondered what that was all about, but he decided to do as his mother prescribed although old time people use to say dream nuh walk straight. He got up in the middle of the night and went to his sons room, knocked the door and called him out. The time was around 4 am, and Everton was surprised at this as his father never did something like this before.
He brought his son to the back yard and told him this;
Son do you trust me?,Smithy asked
To which the son replied “yes of course dad I do, what is the problem?
Smithy then went on to say, “Everton, you are my only child, and I love you more than I love myself, I have never interfered in your life and from you were born you have been a good boy, but I am your father and today I will play my role seriously more than ever. Tomorrow when you wake, I want you not to eat anything in this house that is prepared for you, not anything. If it is forced onto you, tell the person to eat it themselves and promise that after they eat it, then so will you. Your wife will be upset at you and also her mother, but you will set before the two of them what they will give to you and tell them that YOU insist that THEY eat instead of you. If they do not do it then my son please take the food to the dog and watch for three days, if the dog begins to act crazy then you will know what I have told you.”
Everton was puzzled, but Smithy insisted that he not ask him to explain and so he got up and headed for his room, but glanced back to a still bewildered Everton and said, “Son, I am a man of few words, just trust that I love you.
That Morning Miss Jane got up and made breakfast. Smithy as usual did not eat breakfast with them, because of the treatment he got from Miss Jane, so he always woke up before they did and made a cup of tea and an boiled egg which he would sit in the back yard and eat.
Miss Jane (who had laced the food with the obeah which was made up of Millicent menstrual blood caught on a white cloth and burned to ashes, along with the inside of an egg shell and a lizard tongue burned and grounded into powder along with other things) who had spent two weeks preparing the Obeah tying medicine for Everton, she had to wait on Millicent menstrual flow, had sprinkled the medicine into Everton’s portion of the Callaloo she had prepared, his dumpling had been made separate with the same concoction and his own plate was fully fixed.
Everton’s food and tea was served before him and the scent was heavenly. Millicent who knew what was taking place began to sip her tea while Miss Jane ate and the baby sat playing in his high chair. Everton sat reading his news paper. “Everton” said Miss Jane, “yuh not eating?
Everton looked up at his mother in law, and saw his father in his minds eye last might warning him, and so he responded, “No mam, mi nuh hungry!
Miss Jane then said, “Not hungry?, But Everton, yuh never miss breakfast, never since I have been here, please to eat, and drink yuh tea ketch up yuh stomach, come on man eat up! Insisted Miss Jane.
Millicent chimed in, “Is what happen to you Ever, yuh alright? Why yuh not eating, mama doan feel well and she mek breakfast the least you can do is eat it!
Evrton calmly responded, “you know what let me give some to the baby, to which both women shouted “No! As Everton raised a forkful of the calaloo to the child who opened its mouth as the fork approached.
Everton was frightened of the reaction of both women who by now look embarrassed at their out cry. He began to suspect that perhaps his father knew of a plot to poison him and therefore warned him inadvertently. He decided to test them again, he lifted the baby from the high chair and lifted up the fork once again to feed the child, Millicent jumped up and boxed the fork from his hand and shouted,
“Is what you want to do, Everton, kill mi pickney, the food too peppery man wha wrong wid yuh!
Everton was sure now that something was deadly wrong, and so he said
“Millicent, is when since your mother who have high blood pressure and who we have to beg to cook with seasoning much less pepper, cook food whey too peppery? Is poison oonuh set fi mi?
Everton got angry and told Millicent to eat the food and prove to him that it is not poison which she refused. An argument followed and Everton packed the food brought it outside to give to the dog, swearing to Miss Jane and to Millicent that there was a plot to kill him, and this he knew by their actions. He stopped and turned around as they ran behind him denying what he said, and demanded that either of them ate from the plate he held in his hand, neither of them wanted to eat and accused him of being wicked.
Outside Smithy watched from under a mango tree, Everton who was now upset and shouting whistled for the dog and gave the food to him who began to eat happily. Everton remembered what his father had said about waiting three days to see the dogs reaction so he did not wait to see if anything happened to the dog, yet he feared what he expected. Could Millicent really plan to harm him?, and if so, why? He was confused by the whole scene, but he expected something different this morning as his father had warned, and Everton knew the old man loved him beyond belief.
Everton left for work, Millicent was still quarreling as he left and Miss Jane sat crying and threatening to go back to the country. Smithy left for work, and thought to himself that it would be a long three days to come, because he knew that the dream with his mother giving him the nutmeg, thyme and poison bush was a warning to him that Everton was in danger of eating poison. He followed his mind and went to wake the boy and warn him without telling him the dream, hoping that his son would trust him. He did, and now they would have to wait it out.
There was tension in the house for the next three days, although Miss Jane and Millicent quarreled that Everton threw away the good food and insulted them with the accusation of trying to poison him. Smithy said nothing to any of them, as he quietly came and went about his business, while Everton slept on the sofa in the living room. He tried to talk to his father quietly who only raised his hands to cut him off in mid speech and told him to watch the dog.
On the third day in the morning, their dog Duke began to vomit and howl at the same time. Frothy substance began to gather at his mouth and he began to run wild in the yard as if he had lost his senses. Duke barked, vomited and howled and would not allow anybody near him as he seemed to die a slow painful death which lasted all day, all the while becoming slowly insane, or so it seemed. Was it possible for a dog to go crazy, thought Everton as he watched his beloved dog in agony.
Duke died under the bottom of the house where he had ran to when Everton tried to catch him while he was ill. Everton knew this because he had howled all day in some sort of pain and when the howling stopped for a long while Everton discovered that he was dead.
Everton went to his fathers room, while Miss Jane and Millicent sat outside with the baby. He asked the father incredulously what happened, what really happened. Smithy told him a story.
“Son, years ago when I was a child, my mother who was very poor but a hard working humble woman told me that I should never try to handle more than what I was able to bare, this was after I had come back home after her giving me away many times. She had wept this day upon my return and had held my hand and promised me that whenever in life that I was in danger after she had left the earth, she would come to me and I should listen. She told me that In this life people are wicked and that her life was ruined through Obeah, which was very real. She had began life on a good path, but because of a step mother who had seen the love of her father to her, her life had turned out the way it had because the woman had set her to become someone a parent would not be proud of. So she began to get pregnant one behind each other and all the fathers would leave and not take care of their children”.
Smithy had tears in his eyes as he remembered his mother, he told his son that his mother had warned him to be a responsible father and to never take whatever he saw in his dreams and visions for granted but rather as a sign, because this is the way God spoke to his children, she told him that her sign was when her own step mother fed her sour fruits in her dream after taking the sweet one she was eating from her and she had no idea that her life as she knew it from then would be sour forever.”
In the story above the dream was a warning to Smithy for his son Everton from his grandmother who had promised Smithy that whenever there was danger she would come and warn him. The message to give Everton the tea was in reverse as although she said “give” the tea to him, she also placed within its ingredients poison leaves. That was a sign that Everton would be consuming something not good for him to eat or drink. Smithy bound to his son by his love for him, could not sleep and was urged by his “head” to wake the boy and warn him, but indirectly. Why? It is a matter of free will. Everton had to choose to take the advice or leave it.
The Obeah did not work out because of Smithy’s benevolence and the promise of a mother to her son to always give him sings and signals. Also the father and son loved each other and with love comes trust or so it should be, the story continues, but it is already too long, I do not want to bore you so I will continue it another day. The dog reacted this way to the tying food,not because it was poison, it would not have killed Everton, but because Human an Animals have very different make up and react to things differently, more to write but as I said it too long.
I will continue this story as Miss Jane is not finshed with her work and Smithy loves his son dearly, lol.
Ẹní bá rí òkú ìkà nílẹ̀ tó taá níìpá, ìkà ti di méjì. /
Whoever saw the corpse of a wicked fellow and kicked it, has turned himself into a wicked person, as well….Yoruba Proverb
[Forgive and forget.]
Everything comes when it must, and everything happens for a reason, do not hurry your life, what is destined for you, cannot escape you, just keep the faith, be patient and be prayerful, filled with compassion, kindness and respect for all, let these qualities be among your name, God will fill in the rest…..Obara Meji!
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love….Obara Meji
There are no disappointments in life, only lessons learned!….Obara Meji