Two – How To Talk To Crazy People by Donna Kakonge – Chained to a Tree

I started crying this morning, so, before he left for work, Uncle Eddie sent a message to the university that I would not be going in today. After he left, there was no one in the house. Auntie Zeddie was at her medical clinic in downtown Kampala and Dora and Darlene are at boarding school. My other cousin, Jake, is at boarding school too.

In my small bedroom, I removed the mosquito net from my bed and lay there looking out the window at the tennis court surrounded by another stringy net. Then bang, BANG. I saw a large group of men outside the house carrying pitchforks. They pounded on the kitchen door. I screamed and screamed and screamed.

Some of the men came around to look at me through my bedroom window. They were speaking in Lunyoro. I could not understand them. I jumped around and air- fought them, flying my fists toward the window.

I could hear them laughing. It went on for hours.

In the night, when Auntie Zeddie came home, I was still crying. I wanted to run away.

“Do   you want me to   have to   take you to   the   hospital?”   Auntie Zeddie threatened.  “They will lock you up and you will never get out.” I thought of a story I once saw on CBC about what they do to people with mental challenges in Ivory Coast. They chain them to trees.

I let Auntie Zeddie tuck me into bed. “We’ll say you have malaria,” she said.

She locked the door behind her as she left my room.


Author: kakonged

I am an author, journalist, teacher, and lawyer who lives in Toronto, Canada. This picture is a selfie that was done on Saturday, February 24, 2018, nearing six years of my being dreadlocked.