In the village of Aswa, there lived a woman named Acheng. She was kind and gentle but always seemed very sad. Acheng was married to Odoch, a young, tall, handsome carpenter who had a small workshop in the village. They had been married for ten years, yet they were unable to have a child. This caused Acheng a great deal of unhappiness. Whenever she passed by, the villagers would mock her. One man even went so far as to call her a witch. Acheng heard all these taunts but pretended not to, as she was a very peaceful woman.
Throughout the entire village, Acheng was an object of mockery due to her inability to conceive. People speculated that she might be a ritualist who had sacrificed her womb. She wasn’t allowed to participate in the Ashebi meeting or the women’s June meeting. The Ashebi meeting was reserved for married women with at least one or two children, where they discussed household matters and how to ensure their children’s safety within the community. Acheng always watched from a distance during such events, as she unfortunately had no child of her own.
One Saturday, an Ashebi meeting was taking place in the village square. Acheng, always eager to understand the purpose and proceedings of the meeting, decided to attend that day. As she stepped among the women, the group started laughing at her. The first woman exclaimed, “What are you doing here? You don’t belong here; this is a gathering for women, not men. Please leave us, men are not allowed here.” They labeled her as a man and taunted her simply because she couldn’t conceive like other married women in the village who had children. Though deeply hurt by their words, Acheng remained silent. She turned and walked away.
As she walked home, the weight of the mockery pressed upon her. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she couldn’t hold back her weeping. Her husband, Odoch, attempted to comfort her, saying, “I am sorry Acheng, I wish I could give you children.”
“It’s not your fault, my husband. I am just tired of being mocked. Why is my fate so different? Why do I have to endure all this humiliation? God, why have you forsaken me?” Acheng replied, her voice laden with sorrow.
She was deeply saddened, and she clung to her husband, crying bitterly on his chest. This experience made Acheng withdraw, preferring to stay indoors. She hardly ventured outside, avoiding visits to the market or any other place in the village, as she did not want to endure more insults. Whenever she did leave, she would often face derision from her fellow women along the road. Even at the market, some vendors would refuse to sell groceries to her simply because she couldn’t bear a child.
But one day, there was no food in the house. Acheng decided to go to the market to pick up some foodstuffs to prepare lunch for her husband, who would soon be back from work. When she arrived at the market, she was about to walk past a store when she noticed a woman selling herbs. The woman called out to her and mentioned that she had special herbs that could help her have children. Initially, Acheng was skeptical, but desperation drove her to consider it. She bought the herbs and took them home, deciding to give it a try. She consumed the herbs before going to bed.
That night, Acheng had a dream. In her dreams, she saw a woman approaching her, carrying a baby. The woman said to her, “My daughter, you have been remembered. Your prayers have been heard. You will soon become a mother, and you won’t cry anymore.” Acheng woke up feeling very hopeful. She continued to take the herbs for three more nights. On the fourth night of taking the herbs, she and her husband made love.
Three weeks later, Acheng discovered that she was pregnant after taking a pregnancy test. Overjoyed with the news, she hurried to her husband’s workshop to share the good news. Odoch was ecstatic, lifting Acheng up and then hugging her. At last, he would not see his wife sad all the time.
Nine months later, It was almost time for Acheng to give birth. But the night before she was meant to give birth, she had another dream. In her dream, she saw the same old woman she had seen in her previous dream. The old woman said to her. “By tomorrow night, you will give birth to a baby girl.” The next day in the morning, Acheng continued with her daily chores as usual. But suddenly she started feeling contractions. They rushed her to the hospital and she finally gave birth to a beautiful bouncing girl. All the villagers were speechless on hearing this news that they went to the hospital to see her and her beautiful daughter. They apologized to her with their heads bowed down because they were so ashamed of how they treated her. Acheng forgave them because after all she had given birth to her beautiful baby girl.
15 October, 2023