26 March 09 Madua’s Vanished

This evening I went to visit the Kampusi’s Dizzy was sitting at a table wearing only her waist beads. I figured she was waiting for Madua to bring her a bucket of water for her bath. I sat down and we exchanged greetings. Then she said “Madua’s vanished!”
“What!” I quizzed her.
She leaned i towards me, her eyes wide open. The words came so fast I could only pick out a few. “Dada called “MADU” “We looked everywhere” “Some luggage gone” “Her village Chiculiga”.
I was skeptical. Dizzy had told me her mother was giving birth in Dizzy’s birthday in March. She had also told me her father was getting her a limo for her birthday. I had heard her tell three people each a different story of how she got the name Prettina. So I put the story down to Dizzy’s over active imagination. I figured Madua had gone home for a visit.
Dizzy’s dad brought out the bucket. Dizzy bathed. When she turned six she demanded that she was old enough to bathe herself. When she finished she asked for a towel. I went around to the courtyard to find a towel. Perpetua gave me one. She said she would be in front soon. She was cooking. So dad bathing dizzy, Perpetua cooking all signs that Madua was not there.
Pepe came out and sat at the table. She looked more tired than cooking should have made her. We chatted awhile then I said “I think Dizzy’s imagination is working overtime. She just told me that Madua had vanished.” I laughed and so did Perpetua but she said “Dizzy is right Madua has vanished! She has run away!”
“What!” I quizzed a member of the Kampusi family for the second time that evening. I was sure this answer would be more intelligible than the last!
Wednesday night Perpetua was waiting for Madua to finish her bath so then Perpetua could bathe. It got to be close to 10 pm and still Madua had not come to the front yard to say she was done. Pepe went to the side yard to see if Madua was talking to someone or still washing dishes. No Madua.
She went inside the house and heard the master calling “MADUA”. No answer Thinking she had gone to toilet they both went towards the bush side of the house and called. Still no answer. They were getting worried so master took a torch and went looking all around the property and into the bush. No Madua.
When he returned they went into her room. The bed was made. They looked in her closet. Some of her clothes and luggage were missing. They called Madua’s aunt. She helps Pepe with the bakery. Madua was not at her aunts. Perpetua asked if she knew why Madua would run away. The aunt replied that Madua complained of being insulted for wasting food.
Perpetua interrupted the story, her voice rose as she fiddled with the bottle of water on the table. “In any house they would reprimand you for wasting food. If you go to the President’s house and waste food you will get reprimanded. Does she think it will be any better any where else? Doesn’t she want to learn?”
She continued the story and said that the master got on his moto and drove to her uncle’s house. She pointed her finger in the direction of the nearest village. Madua was not there and had not been seen. But a few minutes after the master arrived home the uncle called and said Madua was there. She was going on to Chuchilliga that night. “It was beyond midnight” Perpetua said “any thing could have happened to her”
“I didn’t sleep at all last night” she said explaining why she looked so tired.
“Was it yesterday you reprimanded her for wasting food?” I asked
“No everything was fine yesterday.” Pepe said. “No bad attitude, no angry words. She gave us no hint that she would do this. Even Gifty and Eunice were surprised. “ Perpetua thinks there must be another reason for Madua leaving.

27 March 09

While waiting for the bus today Madam Paulina said “So I heard that Madua has run away.’ We talked over the details then she confessed one of her small girls had run away as well.
I remember Agatha warning me against giving money to small boys or girls. If they run away and the “parents” find out I gave money to them the “parents” won’t be happy with me.

06 April 09

Madua has returned as strangely as she had vanished. I was sitting at Kampusi’s. Eunice brought out a tray of food and Madua followed with another. Just like that!
The last thing Perpetua said to me about Madua running away was “Master said we won’t let her come back even if she pleads. She has made her choice.” she said with a taunt face and hard eyes.
“Oh but you must be sad” I said.
“I was” she replied. “I didn’t sleep for two nights. How I treated that girl. No one would know she was a servant. She was like a daughter to me.’ Then she relayed plans for her niece to come help during the Easter break. I thought that was that.
Sitting there eating my Tee Zed and boaboa leaf soup I realized that I did not have the heart of a reporter. I wanted to ask about Madua returning but Perpetua was smiling. Her eyes were shining and she had laughed three times since I arrived. I didn’t want to do anything to put even a shadow of the pain of the last week back in her eyes.

28 April 09

Madua is gone. I returned from Easter break to discover that Madua is gone again. Refer to previous paragraph for reasons why I don’t have all the answers to why, when and how.

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