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very big bowl of food, won't you? 
Koly: [Nods emphatically, ignoring Sabena who keeps calling him, taking her affection for granted]. Peter: [Puts him on the ground in the house]. My soldier, you're welcome. 
Koly stamps his right foot on the ground with all the strength he can muster for a child of his age in a military salute, betraying no emotions. But he sights his mother and quickly forgets his military demeanours in a swing of emotions and lets out another feigned cry announcing hunger to her and stretches his hands thinking that the plate of food was for him. 
Koly: [Lets out a cry] Mother I want to eat! [Stretching his hands for the plate of food in his mother's hand] 
Angela: Koly, you are back from school. [Places the food before Sabena and snatches him up] No, this is for your sister. I will bring your own. 
Koly: [Cries in protest] 
Peter: [Rebukes]. Come on, shut up! Don't you know that you are a man and you are crying like a woman! Go and take off your school uniform! [Sees the look on Angela's face] He has to learn these things from now. 
Angela: All right; all right Koly, come and have your own food. You will eat rice won't you? 
Koly: [Nods emphatically again]. 
Angela: [Observes humorously]. This nod of yours would split a coconut. [Protectively, to Peter] Please leave my baby for me. When you were his age you didn't cry. [To Sabena] Sabena please eat, I am bringing your water; and what do you say?, 
Sabena: Thank you Mother. 
Angela: That's my daughter. 
Angela returns with Koly, a bowl of food and a cup of water. She places him on a local mat and places the bowl of food within his reach. Koly does not need any encouragement to eat. Sabena stretches her hand for the cup of water in her mother's hand. 
Angela: [As she places Koly on the mat] Okay, sit here and eat your food. [Passes the cup to Sabena] Sabbie, here is water. 
Peter: [To Sabena]. It is enough Sabbie. Don't drink too much at a time. As you eat more food, you drink. Sabena nods in agreement, having a deep sigh. Angela: Koly, go easy on the food! Nobody is coming to take it from you! [Passes Sabena's cup to him] Drink some water. 
Peter: Koly I have always told you not to wolf your food. You could be choked. 
Miss Carol arrives from school in the company of Anma, Sabena's classmate and friend to see 
Peter: [Very pleased] Miss You are welcome. [Referring to  You can see that she is getting better.Thank you for coming. 
Miss Carol: She has already announced her resumption of school tomorrow, but I was careful in my response in order to be certain that she is strong 
enough before resuming. 
Peter: “Doctor” will come in the evening to look at her. Angela hears Aunty Carol's voice and hastened into the parlour to greet her. 
Angela: [Hastening into the parlour] Ah! Miss! You are welcome! Sabbie is already getting better. 
'Miss Carol: [Laughing] Ah! Madam! Good afternoon! i can see that she is doing well. [To Peter] You say that the Doctor is coming? 
Peter: Yes, “Doctor” Sam. He was here on his way from the market where he went to buy drugs for his shop. 
Miss Carol: You mean the village chemist? 
Angela: Yes. We call him Doctor. The nearest hospital is 30 kilometers from this village. Besides we could not afford a hospital bill. She is getting much better anyway. She has started eating much betterthan she used to. Miss Carol: Sabena, go and finish your food. [To 
Koly who is engrossed with his food] Koly how are you? 
Koly: [An emphatic nod, too busy with his food to look up] Fine. 
Angela: Have you greeted Aunty? Say good afternoon Aunty. . 
Koly: “Kood affen”Aunty [Eyes glued to his plate]. Miss Carol: [Smiling] Good afternoon Koly. 
Angela: [Scolds] Say come and eat! ' 
Koly: [Moves his bowl of food behind his back] No! Peter: Come on, say come and eat! 
Koly: [Begins to cry] 
Miss Carol: [Laughing] Koly, don't cry. l won't carry your food; go on and eat. [To Peter] His is only a child. He will learn with time. 
Peter: He'd better start now. 
Miss Carol: [Referring to Sabena]. So, how did it happen? 
Angela: [Narrates]. She returned from school four days ago and I observed that she was unusually quiet. I asked her if she was all right and she said yes but I knew that something was actually wrong. 
Miss Carol: [Nods with deep concern on her face] Yes, especially when a smart, agile and lively child like her becomes that quiet; you can only suspect that something is wrong. 
Angela: Yes. [Continues] So, I took her to Sam when I noticed that her body was becoming hot but she was complaining of cold. He said that it was malaria and gave me some drugs for her. I gave her the drugs but she got worse the following day. When she could not go to school, I became apprehensive and returned to Sam and he gave me different drugs. She lost appetite and could not sleep well for two nights. However I think that the new drugs worked because she slept very well this afternoon and when she woke up she was much better. 
Miss Carol: [Deep sigh and concern] Sorry Sabena. 
Sabena looks up from her plate to Miss Carol and nods tenderly. 
Miss Carol: Anma, give me that bag. 
Anma passes her bag to her, with a concerned look on her face. 
Miss Carol: [Removes some tins of milk and a big tin of beverage from her bag] Madam, Please give these to Sabena. 
Angela: Oh, thank you. Hei! Sabena, see! Your Aunty gives you these. What do you say? 
Sabena: Aunty, thank you. 
Miss Carol: Oh, Sabena, it is okay. I am glad you are getting better. Sorry. 
Sabena nods gently again. 

To be continued

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