Akuuwa - An Igbo Play, Act Five
(In Irechi's house. Irechi and Amadi are seated, discussing the fight among
the members of the Church of the Holy Spirit.)
Irechi: (laughing, keeps on laughing, falls backward in his chair.) Ha! Ha! Ha! You are too much, Amadi. Ha! You say that all of the church people are greedy? Does it mean that there is not one good person among them?
Amadi: What do you think? When their leader who says that he is a prophet, is a goat himself and is also a drunkard, that is enough ...
Irechi: You say that he says that he is a prophet, does that mean you don't believe that he is a prophet?
Amadi: Is it that you can't prophesy in that manner? When you want to openly extort people's property, you start falling down like someone who is drunk and begin to say what you see and what you don't see and say that God directed you; does God use uproar, confusion and someone who causes commotion to speak to His people?
Irechi: What you are saying is true. Our church teacher read to us from the Holy Bible that God speaks in a gentle voice and in quiet places. I see many surprising things in the lives of the people of the Holy Spirit Church. Their behavior is distasteful to me.
Amadi: Have you seen other church people quarreling in public? Let alone their leader fighting in public? This fight they have carried on has exposed them in public. Now people will start wagging their tongues.
Irechi: People usually talk about things that happened when they were not there, let alone something like this that every goat and chicken saw with their own eyes; if someone speaks now, he will really be throwing salt and pepper on it. It is like the goat who died and said that his stomach should be cut open.
Amadi: People can say whatever pleases them, but I am saying what I saw. In the evening of last Eke day, while I was in my house, I heard Akuuwa and Ukachi's wife conversing outside of my house. Akuuwa told her to leave her husband and also to stop attending the Catholic Church where she was going, and start coming to his house of prayer. You know that Ukachi's wife is not pregnant and some women were calling her a barren woman. This type of situation was breaking this woman's heart. Akuuwa told her that he could pray special prayers for her and she would become pregnant, bear children, and keep them.
Irechi: This is the way they bring people in. Everyone who is in that church has entered it because of trouble and great confusion. The rat does not deliberately get caught in the trap. Does one go to Ibina Ukpabi [an oracle with power for evil] with his eyes wide open? I do not blame people.
Amadi: It would have been good if their troubles were being relieved at that place. But sometimes it was very bad. Many of them got into debt because of having to buy all the things they were told to buy for their prayers. There was one woman who went to borrow money from Ikeogu, money she would use to buy a sheep to be used in a sacrifice on her behalf. It was in the Otamiri River that they performed the sacrifice. Tell me if church people perform sacrifices in water?
Irechi: I heard that he consumes the money of his church people as though he were the only one who owned it. They say that he is building a storied house in his village now. You know that for 20 years Father James, my brother, has been in church work, and he did not build even a chicken house at his father's place, let alone a storied house. Look at Akuuwa! It is only two years ago that he started this prayer church, and see how he is respected in his father's house; he has joined those who are wealthy in their village.
Amadi: I think that that is what caused the fight in Ejekam's compound. It was ... (Akuuwa knocks at the door.)
Irechi: Who is knocking at the door? Come in o o!
(Akuuwa enters. Irechi and Amadi glance at each other meaningfully. Akuuwa's arrival has surprised them.)
Akuuwa: My brothers, so you are here! [form of greeting]
Irechi: Apostle ... you have come ... Welcome ... have a seat ... shall we also live?
Akuuwa: You will live long, my brothers. Irechi, I know that my coming to your house today will surprise you. It is said that the toad does not run out in the daylight for nothing. When an old woman runs up a hill, if she is not chasing something, something is chasing her. I have been to your house, Amadi, but I did not find you at home. Now I see both of you here, so it seems that God has agreed that my journey should be successful. Do not be annoyed that I came to you so suddenly; it is said that if a human being has an itch, his fellow human scratches it for him, but if a wild animal has an itch, he goes to a tree trunk. Perhaps you know why I was looking for you.
Irechi: M m m m - - ! You are still beating around the bush. Get to the point, so we may know what you are talking about.
Akuuwa: It's about what happened yesterday. I came to get your help. Since the matter has gotten into in the hands of the police, I think that it will not fail to reach the court.
Amadi: What type of help do you want us to give you?
Akuuwa: It ... it is that you should come and witness for me in court.
Amadi: What type of witness do you want us to give you?
Akuuwa: What is important to me is that you both agree that you saw Ekwekwe and his group beating me up. I know that a worker deserves payment for his labor. That will not be a problem. Only that they beat me with a stick, threw me to the ground, and stepped on me, that is all.
Irechi: Is that all you want us to do, or is there something else?
Akuuwa: If you only speak along those lines, it will be sufficient for me. Then you can say what else is involved, because as I said earlier, a worker deserves payment for his labor.
Irechi: Hey! Prophet! Is it really you talking this way! Wow! The world has been completely ruined. Do you mean that you will give us a bribe so that we will then witness falsely for you? Ugh! God forbid. My friend! Bribery goes against the teaching of our church. The Father told us that it is a mortal sin. If you want us to come and say what we saw, we can come, but it is not a matter of giving us "Eat, and keep your mouth closed."
Akuuwa: (Looking ashamed.) I am not calling it a bribe. I want you to help me, and afterward I thank you in my own way. It is the right hand washing the left, and the left washing the right.
Irechi: All right, you must go ... so we can think about the matter.
Akuuwa: All right, thank you. I hope you will think carefully. Let me go now. Stay well. Goodbye. (He leaves and goes home.)
(They fall down laughing.)
Amadi: Irechi, now you have seen what we were talking about. One who looks the way he has been mocked makes you laugh and you can't stop. (They start to laugh again.)
Irechi: Look at that--the head of a house of prayer! He thought that the wealth of the world would buy him truth, that money buys everything: Oh yes! He doesn't know that a good name and living an honest life are better than the wealth of the world. I will not use this tongue of mine to lie on account of money.
Amadi: Our thoughts are identical, Irechi. One who uses his head to strike a wasp gets stung. We will leave the snake to go away with the thing it swallowed. Please, I must start leaving now. (He rises.)
Irechi: All right, you have done well. Goodbye then.
The lights go out.