this is wickedness, we cannot be eating like ants when we can eat like elephants, chibuzo lamented, while lifting the plate of food that was kept for him on a stool. " My husband, it is our culture that we observe the new yam festival before we proceed with our yam harvest, you cannot expose yourself to be ridiculed by the villagers with your complaint that the new yam festival is taking longer than necessary. That would sound like we are facing hunger in our house. '' Mama Emeka, Chibuzo's wife said while collecting the plate of food from his hand and dropping it back on the stool. " mama emeka, ain't we hungry? Look at this small food i will be eating this evening." He said while pointing at the pinch of beans that was kept on the stool for him. " We are not the only ones facing this hunger, let's endure till the new yam festival which will be in a month's time." Mama Emeka said.
Chibuzo had just come back from the chief palace, as every head of the family were present to discuss and agree on a date for the new yam festival which will usher in another new season. He could see hunger in the faces of most of the people there, but he wondered why they could not agree to raise their hands in support of his one week suggestion for the new yam festival to be held, but went for that for a month.
Chibuzo couldn't hold his anger toward Ebere that had come to his house to ask for a measure of gari for his family the next day." I thought you had plenty of food in your house, why are you here asking for gari?" Chibuzo asked Ebere, who was leaning on the wall looking pale and hungry. " We didn't eat last night in my house, my children are crying of hunger this morning, you are my only hope now, please do not allow me to be embarrassed." Ebere said while making gestures like he wanted to kneel to beg. " Ebere! Don't kneel for me. But why did you not support my one week suggestion for the harvest in the palace yesterday" Chibuzo asked, but this time in a low and soft tone. "That would be a public embarrassment. It will be like my house is facing hunger for the whole community." Ebere said.
The villagers were mostly farmers, who derived pride in their farming. It is considered a thing of shame for any man not to be able to feed his family with his farm produce till another year when the new yam festival which marks the new year is celebrated. It was taboo for anyone to eat that year's harvest before the yam festival. Chibuzo wonders why people punish themselves with a custom that has made it flexible for them to celebrate the new yam festival at the time of their choice by dragging the time longer than necessary just for a show of pride.
Different types of masquerades were in attendance, showing their dancing skills. The drummers line up in cues with their arms tied with red clothes while each family head cues with one tuber of yam to the village square as they drop them at the middle of the playground as their token of appreciation for the harvest. Chibuzo cue at the back of Ebere, the happiness in the air, signifies not the merriment of the drums but the end of hunger.