by Dena McMaster
Abeedou (Ah-bee-doo) is a young boy in Senegal (Seh-neh-gol), West Africa. He lives in the Malinké (Mah-lin-kay) village of Bajula (Bah-joo-lah). His father is the Chief of the village.
Like most boys his age, Abeedou loves to run and play.
He lives in a small round hut. It has mud walls and a grass roof. His house has no windows, so it is dark and damp inside. Often his mother will build a fire in the middle of the floor. She builds the fire for warmth and to keep away the evil spirits.
You see, in Abeedou's village they worship their ancestors, who they believe come back as spirits. They believe that the spirits want revenge for the bad things that happened when they were alive.
Many of the people in the village live in fear of the spirits. They offer sacrifices to make the spirits happy. They put on necklaces or bracelets called gri-gris (gree-grees) to protect themselves from spirits.
|Sometimes Abeedou and his family have very little to eat. They have eaten all the rice they harvested in the fall, and the new crop is not ready. His mother goes out and gathers leaves from the trees. She mixes the leaves with water and cooks them into a broth.|
Abeedou likes the broth, but it is not enough to fill his stomach. He has to go to bed hungry. Sometimes they eat the broth for many days until the new crop is harvested.
When the rice is harvested, Abeedou's mother prepares a huge feast. She puts the rice and sauce in two large bowls. Abeedou's father and his older brothers gather around one bowl. Abeedou, his mother, and his baby sisters gather around the other bowl. They stoop down in front of the bowl and eat with their hands.
Abeedou loves it when they have a feast. Sometimes they even have meat in the sauce.
After they finish eating, other families join them around the fire. The women begin to clap and sing and one of the young men begins to beat on a tall drum. Soon, several of the women begin to dance around the fire. The dance is also to keep away evil spirits.
Abeedou and his friends like to go out in the bush to hunt for birds and small animals with their slingshots. They build a fire and roast the meat. They must always be home by dark because there are many wild animals in the bush. Hyenas and lions come out at night to catch their food.
One day when Abeedou and his friends returned from hunting, there were two strange men at the fire. Strangers did not usually come to the small village of Bajula.
wondered what the men wanted. But he knew better than to come to the
fire when the adults were talking. His father was the Chief and made
most decisions for the village.
ran to his hut but stayed close to the door so he could hear what the
men were saying. The strange men were speaking French. Abeedou and his
friends had learned some French in school. His father spoke French well.
The men asked if they could come and live in the village and teach the
people God's Word.
Abeedou ran to his hut but stayed close to the door so he could hear what the men were saying. The strange men were speaking French. Abeedou and his friends had learned some French in school. His father spoke French well. The men asked if they could come and live in the village and teach the people God's Word.
|"I have been searching the Truth for many years. Does that Book have the Truth?"|
"What is God's Word?" asked Abeedou's father.
One of the strangers held up a large black book. "This book has a message from God to all people," he said.
Abeedou's father replied, "I have been searching for the Truth for many years. Does that book have the Truth?"
"Yes," said the man, "the Truth is in this book."
"You may come and live with us," said Abeedou's father.
The first night ...
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