They walked all night and arrived at the village early in the morning. The sun had risen just above the trees. The air had that early morning smell of fresh earth and blooming flowers. Butterflies were beginning to fly around the flowerbeds in front of the huts. The sun bounced off the dew drenched green leaves.
Someone blew a conch shell and all the villagers came out to greet them. Some of the younger children sang and danced, as the tired travelers slowly made their way through the village. Akosua walked to the centre of the village and raised her arm. The crowd became silent.
“Our journey was a successful one. We will tell you more later. Prepare a feast; we will celebrate our union with the Bokors. Now go prepare, we will rest.” Akosua said the crowd erupted in cheers, then chants. Henry was tired; he stood barely able to keep his eyes opened. The crowd began to disperse and Henry stumbled back to his hut. Some of the villagers patted him on his back as he went.
It was midafternoon when he was woken up by the sound of conch shells being blown. He got up, walked to the door and looked out. His vision was blurred, so he rubbed his eyes and looked again. The village was alive with villagers bustling around. It was like Christmas Eve in the Old Country. He went back into the hut and began to get ready. There was a fresh suit of white clothes laid on one of the chairs. A calabash bowl of water sat at the foot of the bed. He dipped his hands into the bowl of water and splashed some on his face. He yelped as the cold water hit his skin. The drummers began to play and some of the villagers began singing. Henry hurried up and got dressed.
Henry walked out of the hut, the sunlight hit him and he squinted to see where he was going.
“Hey Henry,” a small boy said as he ran by, his white outfit blurry in the bright sunlight, Henry walked to the centre of the village, Kwao and two warriors were carrying a table from the dining hut. Kwao looked over at Henry,
“Hey Kindoki how about a little help here?” he said and smiled. Henry was taken aback by his cheerfulness; he had never seen the boy smile except at the expense of someone else.
“Come on,” Kwao insisted. Henry walked over and grabbed the end of the table. They sat the table down next to some other tables. Kwao walked past him bumping him as he did. As suddenly as he was nice he was back to his old self. Henry shook his head and looked around. Chickens ran around in yards, pigs squealed, goats bleated, and smaller children laughed.
Henry walked over to where some of the children were cooking. Pots of food in bubbled over fires sending steam bellowing into the air. Ampah stood over the caucus of a goat rubbing leaves into it. He smiled when Henry walked up.
Hey warrior how are you doing today?” he asked.
“Am well rested, ready to eat some of this food,” he replied. Ampah reached out and tapped him on the shoulder leaving leaves on his clean shirt.
“Why don’t you come over here and help the master cook create a meal fit for a Loa.” He said, a girl next to him laughed.
“Master cook, just do the job we gave you and do less talking,” she said and the young women erupted into laughter. Henry laughed and looked at Ampah.
“She is just jealous because I am a better cook than she is” he said. The girl splashed him with water from a bowl on the table. Ampah looked over at her,
“Don’t start a war you can’t win Pickiny,” he said, the girl splashed him again and Ampah laughed and continued with what he was doing. Henry grabbed some leaves and began rubbing it into its flesh. Adofo walked up.
“Doing a good job there Henry, put some muscle into it,” he said.
“Join us,” Henry said, Adofo twisted his mouth,
“Not me, you could not pay me to put my hands in that,” he said, then laughed and walked away.
“I slaughter the animals I don’t cook them,” he said in between laughter. A flock of robins flew out of the jungle and came to rest on a small tree next to the table. They chirped, as if having a conversation with each other.
Henry turned to look at the village. Akosua walked into the centre of the village. She wore a laced white dress that came to just above her knees; her dreadlocks were tied behind her head with a white band. A white hibiscus flower was stuck on the right side of her hair; Henry was amazed that she went form fierce warrior one day, to delicate beauty the next. Small children ran up to her and she stopped and hugged them one at a time, she was the closest thing they had to a mother figure. She walked over to the tables and helped some of the girls spread white table clothes over them. Adofo walked up to her, they embraced for a second. Kwao stopped what he was doing and glanced over at them, he always seemed to be near whenever they had an intimate moment.