Cultures differs really. There’s no doubt about that. But, what had been surprising to Lucas is why and how people of the same tribe, same town, same village, the same kindred, geographical up bring will differ greatly in belief and behavior like Cliff and Samuel do to the level of perennial squabbles both exhibit over ideology and well-known facts.
Where both of them came from and even how their parents and kindred handle certain issues like engagement with others are how many in their tribe does it. Yet, Samuel had been living by what you will call pick up attitude, a direct opposite of Cliff who believes that respect is usually reciprocal or more like “If you see me, I see you,” attitude.
To think that in this their tribe, it is well known fact that Uncles, Aunties, Cousins, Niece and Nephews are just words children knew from the foundation of their birth to be just words and nothing like feeling, feelings off any kinds attached. No brotherhood or Sisterhood of any real form.
You have heard the saying that Charity begins at home? Maybe, where you came from, that saying means and carries positive connotations or rather whenever you came across it, what will flash to your mind is positive things. But I tell you that in this tribe these guys came from, that saying means no other thing but negativity. Truly, charity, enmity or sizing up and hauntiness begins at home or at infancy there.
Nothing at the root of that behavior that has become a culture and tradition of it’s own there. Just poverty and illiteracy that many disoriented and bored house wives made what it’s today over there. To think that no matter who you married, educated or not, you as the man of the house can not escape that entanglement from the women floks. If you don't jump on one bandwagon once you got married, something must be wrong somewhere. As sound as you are, you will start questioning your soundness.
“ Why does that your brother’s wife always behave as if her parts are not in any market in Africa? You need to see her today at our village meeting, she was frowning and pretended not to see me enter. Who did she think she is? I am telling you this because I will not see her tomorrow anywhere. The insult is getting out of hand”
That is how the kids that have not started crossing any major roads alone got romped into nonsense and they grew up with it to forward and further the women-introduced culture. You might think that the complainers had a case until you hear the so called brother's wife reporting her side Of the story to her husband.
“ Ha! Darling, you need to witness what happened today at our meeting. Your brother’s wife entered and I was looking her way to acknowledge her and she threw away her face frowning. People were murmuring seriously that she came late and was shuffling her high heel noisily, she ignored me and after the meeting, she did not even wait for us to greet and off she went chatting with others. Is anything the matter with you and your brother?”
Almost every kid is equipped with thoughts and behaviors of this nature and that was the reason people like Cliff were wondering if Samuel is okay in the head. Five siblings in that his family, others are not frolicking with their other so-called Uncles, aunties, cousins, and niece and nephews, and those are not looking their ways either, only Samuel for years have been the only one paying visits to all those people and there is nothing like a reciprocal visit from them. “Are you stupid? Don’t you have self-respect, why for years now, you have been belittling yourself and your family before these people that see you as discomfort? These people don't need you around them. Stop disturbing them and yourself”
That had been what comes from people like Cliff that is just a friend of the family and not related to the family in any way and yet, due to the popularity of this nonsense tradition, he can talk nonsense about his family and feel welcomed in the family. He doesn’t even realize that he was talking about his family and referring to his cousins as “these people” had it been that his father is not well-to-do like those he visits, they would have concluded that it was his long-throat that push him to the people.
Lucas had been observing the two and overhearing them talk not only in the dormitory but in the classroom any time there is a small gap between the two lectures. It’s always Cliff vibrating about Samuel’s lack of self-respect. No need of asking if Cliff doesn’t play with his own extended family. The answer to that confusion is capital YES. He doesn’t and they don’t too. It is tradition. Each wants the other to kowtow nonstop to the other and the kids grew up and embedded that ideology into their psyche. So, all those uncles and aunties are what you show your teeth to when you come across any in any gathering or church.
You see from little scratching I did of this matter that have since the 20th century, became tradition that is here to stay. Cliff had on one Sunday evening after Samuel who was permitted to travel to his family for the weekend, was vibrating of uncles to the chagrin of Cliff. He was surprised to learn on his return that it was one of those so-called uncles he spent two nights in their house.
“Jesus Christ, can't believe this. You mean it was not your family you went back to?”
“ No, not immediate family but my family nevertheless. It was my Uncle I visited. My cousins and I went swimming at the lake not far from their base. It was really fun. You need to see me teaching them some swimming tricks”
“ I am guessing you are not observing them to know who was laughing from his mouth or his heart.”
“why would such bother anyone. Th?re will continue to be Judas in every twelve. Are they not in your family?”
“ No, they are not. No single Judas there”
“I guess we are just too different then. There is one in most of us. You are from a lucky family”
“I don’t know anything about Judas or Lucky. I don't count anyone that doesn’t count me as a family”
“ And you believe in your hearts of hearts that how you will be counted and respected is to keep far away from them and I believe that they too have the same philosophy as you. So, how will the nonsense be halted if everyone is hanging his or her hands up there?”
“ Are you the most senior and eldest among you all, why did they not make the move? Why must it be you for years now?”
The exchange of this nature had been what the two indulge in for two years now and Lucas has tried to join the debate but figured out that things are not as both are painting it and decided that being a spectator in this quest to maintain and break a tradition is far better than taking a side in what he will not claim to have adequate knowledge of.
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Oh yeah, culture is definitely a powerful force :) "So, how will the nonsense be halted if everyone is hanging his or her hands up there?" That's an excellent question, especially if we're talking about respect. Nobody likes being disrespected and taken advantage of, so that's a good point. But if nobody makes the first move to change things, nothing will change. It's a tough place to be in, when everything is seen as a competition with only one winner. "Judas in every twelve" - I like that.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and comment in detail.
Interesting to read about the conflicts between Samuel and Cliff and how unavoidable they are in village life where everyone knows each other.
Thanks a lot.
Philip, can you share this story with me as a docx file, please? firstname.lastname@example.org
Send your email address to here email@example.com
I sent a version of your work with my comments to your email above. LF6
Yeah, I saw it and I think you are to the point. At times most words are not just relevant but they are there to make up the numbers. What are the uses of that google document?
It helps you focus on your theme and what you should concentrate on in your plot. It's ok to add characters into your story, but try to do it at the beginning unless they somehow work naturally with your plot. That's all I can suggest to you now. Did you see the few sentences I changed? Sometimes simple sentences are best. LF6
For sure. At times you can say clearly in few sentences than you can in longish ones. I do believe you. Only I am struggling with this language.