Our Story and Author
On this episode of The Shorttales Club, Oz & friends read a story that was recently shortlisted for the Hafsat Abdulwaheed Women Short Story Prize. It was written by Blessing Aliyu Tarfa and titled, The Man from Kawo.
Blessing Tarfa is a writer. She’s a pioneer fellow of the 2018 YELF Creative Writing Fellowship. She is also an educationist interested in researching education continuity in emergency situations. Tarfa is a Shaper with the Abuja Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum.
Blessing’s passion lies in education and Children’s Literature. In 2020, she won the Wakini Kuria Children’s Prize for Literature. Blessing can be found reading a book, attempting to write one, watering her plants, swimming or simply marvelling at her unfinished manuscripts.
The Man from Kawo
This is a man who is always on the road, prowling, either to or from Kawo. One day he lost his pet cat, which sends him searching desperately for her on his bicycle. The story evolves with each retelling.
Blessing tells a riveting tale of a family living under the weight of their daughter’s blindness. We see how this dictates their lives; in the morning after they wake, how everything they do revolves around Eman, their daughter and the dedication with which she is raised.
Eman’s mother worries her daughter would not be seen as a ‘normal child’ so she spends valuable hours teaching her the shape of colours, the parts of her body, braille and every other thing that comes to mind. Eman’s father is the playful one, weaving stories under the evening sky, playing catch with her and putting her to bed at night.
Seeing but not Seeing
The crew expressed their awe in the manner Blessing described blindness, the richness of her words and the vibrant images they evoked. Under the gentle tutelage of her mother, ‘Eman saw, despite being blind’ Oz announced at some point. Fresh said ‘the narration is just epic’. Hanan was of the opinion that Blessing’s writing ‘takes you to a world that you have been but never been’ and Cryptte commended her by saying he ‘can’t wait to see her try her hands at writing mystery’.
The Victim or The Caregiver
On the issue of who suffers more in cases of disabilities, the friends had differing opinions. Fresh on one hand, believed in the virtue of a mother and how effortlessly mothers give up their time towards their children. Yes, the caregiver experiences hardship, but in Fresh’s words, ‘you cannot suffer more than the person that is blind’.
Hanan argued that the blind suffer less, especially for someone like Eman who never had the gift of sight. Thus, how could she miss something she never had to begin with. If all she knew of sight was what had been explained to her, this therefore made her pain secondary to that of her mother, who could see all the expectations her daughter would never meet.
The Big Reveal
For some reason, two members of the crew failed to connect the dots. Can’t blame them. They are both young parents and could probably not wrap their heads around it. After dragging things along to the point where they could no longer hold themselves still, Oz read a few paragraphs of the story to give them a clue.
The revelation has Fresh shaking her head in disbelief, while Hanan was speechless. Instead of accepting the truth, he prefered to kill off Eman’s mother. Cryptte explained that their rejection stemmed from their inability to envision a world where such could happen to a child, or their child. It was an enjoyable session as Oz revelled in the story’s end.
There is no doubt that The Man from Kawo is a story that will remain with us for a while to come. It is a story of pain, trials, tribulations and comeuppance. Oz & friends hope you learn something from it.
You can find other stories by the author in the links provided below.
- Sophie What do you Say? – A children’s story
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See you next time!