LOUD WHISPERS: Rivers Of Blood

Malomo looked at the young man sitting before him and thought about how to respond to his request. This was not the first one to come to him, asking for a money charm. Malomo learnt the arts of divination, healing and the use of herbs from when he was a young boy of six. His father had given him as an apprentice to Baba Bamise, a well-known medicine man in the village, who was known in all the nearby communities as well. In all his years as an apprentice, right up to the time he became skilled in the use of herbs for different remedies, he had never seen his boss and mentor make money charms for anyone. It is not that people did not ask for them. When they did, Baba Bamise would reply, ‘There are three things in this world I cannot give you a charm for. I cannot give you anything to make you rich. I cannot give you anything to make anyone love you. I cannot give you anything that will prevent you from dying. If there is anyone who claims they can give you any of these charms, they are lying’.

One day, Malomo asked Baba Bamise, ‘Why do you keep sending these people away? Don’t you think people will stop coming to you and go somewhere else?’ Baba Bamise smiled and replied, ‘I can only give people what I have. I can only tell people what I know. I can give them herbs that will make them healthy. If they are healthy, they can work. If they can work, they can build wealth. A healthy young man can farm. A healthy young woman who is not lazy can trade. I can counsel people to be content with what they have and have peace of mind. If your mind is at rest, you will be at peace with people around you. That will attract good luck and fortune. It will also bring love. Without all these things no one can be successful. I can pray for people that God will bless the work of their hands and show them their true path in life. There are those who have dealings with evil spirits and can do such charms and change destinies, but I am not one of them and I do not want to be’. Baba Bamise practiced what he preached. In addition to his calling as a diviner, herbalist, and healer, he had farms and his two wives were successful traders. Malomo inherited Baba Bamise’s work. He tried to be true to all he had been taught. He too refused to dabble into dangerous encounters with evil spirits. These were however different times. Many young people had become desperate for money. There was a Yoruba saying, ‘When you harvest your yam, eat it discreetly’. This was to guard against undue displays of affluence that could attract jealousy and bad luck. These days, this saying is virtually unknown. The practice now is to let the whole world know the location of your farm, exactly when you are planting the yam, the specie of yam, the harvest dates and display photographs of the many ways in which you will eat the yam that has not even been planted – boiled, fried, pounded or grilled.

Malomo had colleagues who were also facing the same pressures. A number of unscrupulous ones told him that their strategy was to lure young people into parting with huge sums of money by telling them to go and do things they believed no one in their right minds would do. They too were shocked at the things young people were prepared to do for money. If you want to get rich, go and sleep with a mad woman. Go and sleep with your mother. Bring the head of your father. Bring a new born baby. Go and eat faeces. Go and sleep with a dog. The more outlandish the assignment they were given the more the greedy young men and women committed themselves. Sometimes the people concerned would get lucky with their fraud business, seduction of a wealthy partner or armed robbery and make a lot of money. This was the proof they needed that the charms were effective. They used most of it to make even more deadly charms and to bring in other people who would be given the same terrible conditions. Malomo looked at the well-dressed young man who had come to him. According to his visitor, he had done a money charm before and it had worked. Now, he wanted an even more powerful charm that would bring him more money. ‘What were you asked to do the last time you did such a charm?’, Malomo asked. The young man said he had been asked to walk naked through seven streets between 1.am and 3.am, carrying a sacrifice. ‘What are you prepared to do this time? Every desire requires a sacrifice’ Malomo told him. The young man nodded and said, ‘I am ready to do anything. Anything’. Malomo then gave him the details of what was required. ‘Bring me three babies, three twelve-year old virgins, three pregnant women, three grandmothers. If you can bring all of them, I will drain their blood for you to bathe in and make the charm for you’. The young man frowned, thought for a minute and nodded. ‘I will be back with them all’ he said. A shocked Malomo started to shiver as if he had a fever. As the young man got to the door, he called him back and asked him, ‘tell me how are you going to get all these persons? What will you do to get them?’. The young man replied, ‘I will think carefully and plan. I need to be strategic to achieve my goal. I need to be courageous because this is not a task for cowards. I will ask my friends for help so we can do it together. There are also people I know who have a ready supply of such things and I can easily buy from them’. Malomo smiled and asked him, ‘If you have all this courage and all these skills and capital, why don’t you use them for a legitimate business? I was taught long ago there are three things in this world you cannot have a charm for. A charm cannot make you rich. A charm cannot bring you love. A charm cannot protect you from death. If there is anyone who claims they can give you any of these charms, they are lying. Every desire requires a sacrifice, but it should not be blood. If you are prepared to bathe with the devil, know you will certainly die in a river of blood’. The young man stared at Malomo in silence, then he shrugged and left. That night, Malomo called on the spirit of Baba Bamise:

Baba, wherever you are, I greet you in the name of our Creator

I greet you in the name of our ancestors

Baba, our children have lost their way

Our children are choking on their own vomit

Our children are running errands for the devil

Our children are doing the unthinkable and unspeakable

Our children are bathing in rivers of blood for things of the world

Our children are dying young

I don’t know what to do

Please tell me what to do

Malomo fell asleep exhausted. In his dreams, Baba Bamise sat next to him on the bed, ‘My son, I tried to teach you all I could. You learnt and you are teaching others. Keep learning. Keep teaching. There are no charms for riches. There are no charms for love. There are no charms for immortality. If you want the children to live, teach them hard work. Teach them patience. Teach them selflessness. Teach them how to live on in the hearts of others. Teach them how to plant and harvest yam and to eat it with dignity. Teach them that you cannot plant cassava and expect yams to grow. Teach them pride in the work of their hands. Teach them that the devil’s blood never washes away’.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

Sign up for Updates

One Response to LOUD WHISPERS: Rivers Of Blood

  1. Femi Diipo May 9, 2022 at 11:12 am

    The world has indeed become a very sad place. The news we hear daily of how desperate people are for money and the extent they’ll go.
    Truly, we need to teach our children the joy of labour, the fulfilment of a honest worker and all that glitters are really not gold. Sadly, alot of our parents need these lessons even more


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of new posts by email.