He had ordered for me to recite from memory the incantations he had just taught me. I was in the middle of it (stuttering and gulping often) when my boss, Chief Priest of Komkosu, Nana Bonsua fell on the floor of his shrine in what I concluded to be an epileptic seizure.
I froze on the spot for seconds, my lips quivering in spite of myself, his quaking body before me. When I came to, my mind immediately transformed into a maze of propositions to salvage the situation:
A variety of incantations for various evil spirits galloped into my mind. Dosage calculations for various healing herbs whizzed past each other. And somewhere in the thicket, memories of outrageous spiritual manoeuvres trickled in.
His usual foreboding self had never warned about this and it was beyond my speculative abilities or spiritual discernment to come to know this peculiarity about Nana Bonsua. As I stood confused before him, I fancied a thought that he was, perhaps, teaching me another trance procedure. Quickly as it came, that singular thought was banished and I began to probe my mind for solutions:
There were Asesewa leaves for fevers, diarrhoeas and ‘other kominis’ as Nana had put it. Bresuo leaves were for skin lesions and abnormal itches. Krebo stems were dipped in water, and were to be thrust into the patients throat to deflate swollen bellies. There was nothing for epileptic seizures, as far as my three-week training had taught me.
The left leg of my boss hit and overturned the calabash of Kola and jolted me from my reverie about solutions. Without contemplation and with fear of what could happen if I did not act, I grabbed all two varieties of leaves and began to moisten them with my tongue. I took a single Kola nut from the ground and wrapped it carefully in both leaves.
With rapidity inspired by my heightening fear, I dashed towards his twitching body in front of me. Kneeling, I shut my eyes, swiftly recited the incantations I had learnt for trances, parted my boss’ lips and teeth and inserted the kola nut.
I was rising away from Nana Bonsua’s body, keen on observing the effect of my medication, when his left hand grabbed my wrist. I shrieked, tried to pull away my hand, when his eyes opened and his mouth spat out the kola nut with surprising force. With his other hand, the now conscious and alert priest grabbed his cane from inches away and began striking me on my shaven head.
“FOOL! FOOL! FOOL! IT’S BEETS FOR EPILEPSY! FOOL!” he yelled as he hit me, his left hand gripping my wrist, with his back still on the ground, and me brought back to my knees by his side.
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