My Name is Tiko – Part II

**You can read Part I here.

My mum.  Slight, gaunt, late thirties looking sixty.  Her exasperated expression suggested, that yes! she had witnessed this unsavoury ceremony before. I snatched off the hat and shook my hair. Mum approached and hit me. I did not flinch. Mum was frail, so the blow did not hurt me.

   “Why do you do this, Tiko?”

   “I thought you would be working.”

   This answer frustrated Mum, and she smacked me again. Then she sobbed, pulled me toward her and held me tight. I stiffened. I’m not big on hugs.

   “What am I to do about you, Tiko?”

   I shrugged. What could I say? I hated upsetting my Mum. But what could I do? Try to explain myself?  I’m not particularly immense at that sort of thing.

The following day my mum called in the Witch Doctor who stood in front of me in his sawn off wellington boots, dressed, in a bottom half of a faded mauve tracksuit, a red monkey waistcoat, a wilting feather head dress, white eye-makeup, and considerably grotesque, yellow and green facial paint.  Around his neck is an unnerving array of small animal bones, a long yellow rhino tooth and dubious juju fragments; presiding over me ‘washing’ my face with goat blood and muddy water from the Holy River. I was dressed only in football shorts. My mum was squatting in the corner. The witch Doctor began to slap coarse, grey powder – supposedly ground from mountain gorilla bones – onto my head, when Father Salumba, our local Catholic Priest entered in a blast. An astonished witch doctor and my mum. I wondered if this was a part of the ceremony.

Father Salumba was a giant of a man with a size eleven in voices.

   “What in the name of sweet bleeding Jesus do you think this horse shit might achieve?”

   The Witch Doctor turned an evil-eyed shamanic face. His voice was high pitched and shrill. “This youth is possessed. I am ridding him of the spirits that invade his tortured soul.”

   Father Salumba grabbed s the witch doctor by his waistcoat and dragged him to the blanket door. “Get the hell out you crazy heathen quack!”

   But he Witch Doctor was not done yet. “Do not let rain water enter his mouth. When he sleeps…you must…cover his legs…”  – before he was forced through the door headlong into a group of nosey neighbours who screamed and dispersed.

“Wait outside Tiko!” said Father Salumba.

And so I picked up my ball and started playing keepy-uppy on the mud path.

And that was how all this started.


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