Ujanga Maa (The Saviour)
He put her on the floor of his cave, and moved to stoke the slumbering fire. As the fire roared back to life, Ujanga Maa raised his head, and allowed the tears to fall freely. Tears of gratitude, of joy.
“It is almost over, Master. It is almost done. It is time to draw close the far and wandering, the lost and helpless. Master, help me. Help me to speak words that will reveal you. Your love. Your great love.”
He bowed his head, overcome by the overwhelming emotions flooding his heart.
Ujanga Maa had watched and waited, ever since he first found the girl and her fledgling, weak brother, with their mother lying awkwardly beside them, in the throes of death. A man had come to their village from the far West, as he said, when Ujanga Maa was but a lad, talking strangely, clutching a book he refused to part with, singing songs about a God who saved, and did not require sacrifices and libations. A God who did not lie with a woman, but had a son whom he loved so much, but whom he did not mind allowing to be killed to save people who did not even like him. Ujanga Maa remembered how he laughed heartily at this tall tale, thinking-like the others-that the man was mad. But after that day, Ujanga Maa could not sleep. Sleep refused to come, and one day he went in search of the mad man from the West.
That day, Ujanga Maa opened up his heart, believing the ridiculous story, and received the salvation that the God who allowed his son to be killed, offered. He stayed with the man thereafter, learning how to love God.
“Love a God! Forgiveness!” The man shouted. “Patience! Kindness! Meekness! Joy! Hagiwe!” Ujanga Maa repeated in the native language. “Goyeyi! Disehi! Fafeyu! Hiika!”
“What should you do if i raise my hand against you?” The man asked.
“Hagiwe. Hagiwe w○.Forgive,” Ujanga Maa answered.
“What should you do when i am stubborn?” The man asked again.
“Goyeyi. Patience. I will wait for you to change,” Ujanga Maa replied again.
“And if I do not change?” The man asked for a third time. “Kraase. I knock your head with a staff. And still continue to be patient, in love.” Ujanga Maa answered.
“This, my child, is how to love this God. Just do what he has said.”
Ujanga Maa welcomed these memories, for he had lived all these years with the words in his heart, with a will to obey. Now, many years after, the time had come to bury these words deep into the heart of another.
He turned to look at the girl. Though asleep, she wore a troubled look. He reached out to place his hand on her head, stroking her hair, eyes filling with tears again, for he knew a miracle was about to happen. He could feel it in his bones.
And he would rather die, than prevent this.
His grip on her head grew firmer, and she stirred. It was time.
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Toyin Uzoma is a vocalist, writer, motivational speaker, editor, content writer and TV presenter. A student of Imo State University, studying English Education and Chinese Language.