LIFE IN THE COUTRYSIDE
Fate ordains men’s destiny, a reality that is accepted with no otherwise. The ruralfolk have always been content with the status quo as civilization is ever doomed to come by.
Building structures consist of mudwalled and thatchroofed huts, one for the man and the other for the wife. The mother shares her hut with children and at the same time uses it as kitchen. Beds in all the huts consist of wooden planks and mats.
The remarkable change that has taken place is the replacement of skin garments with western attire. Second hand clothe and shoes imported by tycoons are relatively cheap and provide a decent attire.
A few of the lucky ones are able to roof their mudwalled huts with iron sheets. The luckiest can afford to replace mudwalls with timber.
Growing of subsistence crops is the dominant activity. Famine becomes the worst piercing sting than the scorpion’s when the heavens take revenge and the rains pour not. The government imports yellow maize to feed the starving lots.
Chiefs and their assistants ration the portion of the relief food while taking a larger share of the ration. Selfishness, greed and corruption remain a worse social sting than starvation. Unconcern, hatred and indifference of the government officers is as greater and lasting moral evil than physical hunger which man satisfy by borrowing from the “haves” or slaughtering a dog.
A latrine is a small physical structure that is given the least attention. In the past, people had the habit of emptying their bowels in the bushes. Latrines came into existence as an enforcement of public health. It is the most despicable structure in the community, gunny bags, polythene papers and wooden planks are used as walls with no roofs. These disgusting structures tell it all, the firm grip of abject poverty.
Traditional ethics in pre-colonial era were crystal clear. Intoxicating alcohol was strictly reserved only for old men, the sages and the custodians of traditions. Indulgence in intoxicating alcohol by women and youth is a phenomenon not ever known when our ancestors were in absolute control.
The status quo ante became corrupted in the eventual advent of colonial masters and the missionaries. Permissive behavior has since become the order of the day. A high percentage of married women have joined their husbands in the game of carousing. The youth too have become the most notorious problem abusers of alcohol.
The rural alcohol is cheap in the making and buying. One kilogram of molasses, two kilograms of sugar, and two hundred grams of yeast are fermented in a twenty litre container. Bhang, cannabis sativa is added to make a strong concoction popularly known as “mugacha”. In three days, the intoxicant is ready for consumption.
Behavioural effects of the intoxicants are regressive. Excessive drinking is obviously a maladjustive mechanism. A person in a perpetual alcoholic stupor is always disoriented with no conscience, emotional control and no values.
Instinct drives such irresponsible men to bring children into the world but fail obnoxiously to give then education. Ignorance is the lack of education, knowledge and awareness. Not knowing also means that light has not yet dawned and one is still living in the darkness of the phenomenology of knowledge. The light of knowing starts with reading, writing and arithmetic, popularly known as 3 Rs.
Education is the light that opens the mind to civilization. The generations of problem drinkers constitute the clan of those who have not had the opportunity to climb up the ladder of schooling. These generations make the class of paupers and destitutes, the poor and the poorest.
The gulf between the educated and the uneducated, the poor and the rich is ever waxing as the day dawns. The life of the countryfolk is eternally disadvantaged in realizing what be the dawn of civilization. The culture of corruption which has already taken deep roots, will perpetuate into eternity ignorance and poverty of the country folk.