Summary of Nii Ayikwei Parkes' Tail of the Blue Bird by Ghana librarians

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Coordinator Paul Ayuloiya summarizes some of the final chapters:

tailbluereading.JPGOur discussion continues from Yawda to Menada the last chapter of the book.  Kayo returned with Garba to Sonokrom after furious and corrupt Inspector Donkor demanded what he called CSI-style report with international implications for his selfish parochial interest. Kayo was admired by the people of Sonokrom for the respect he accorded to their customs and norms when he first arrived in the village. The people of Sonokrom offered him the necessary assistance when he was in need of any information. Though an expert in forensic science, Kayo understood that there are higher truth that sometimes leaves scientific knowledge far behind. Inspector Donkor and his cohorts will never acknowledge something like this rather they are interested in results with their unscrupulous ways of investigation; no wonder his men ended up getting nothing from their investigation.

tailbluereading 2.JPGWe discover in our discussions that when Kayo returned the second time, he first met with Oduro the village spiritualist who was standing not far from the Tweneboa tree. Oduro welcome Kayo and Garba back to their village.  After exchanging greetings, Kayo told Oduro that he wanted to talk about Kofi Atta. Worthy of note in the tale is the Tweneboa tree; we discover that this tree is at the center of the village where the villagers meet often to talk about matter of interest. We wonder if this tree is not associated with the ancestors of Sonokrom. Oduro took Kayo and Garba to Opanyin Poku who was already at Madam Akosuo Darko the palm wine seller's place taking his palm wine (don't forget that Opanyin Poku does not joke with his palm wine). Oduro told Opanyin Poku that his friends here want to talk about Kofi Atta. Opanyin Poku after finding out what they want to know about Kofi Atta spoke to Kayo and Garba about who Kofi Atta was.  Opanyin Poku talking to Kayo and Garba said he knows Kofi Atta well, but his character is bad, it doesn't take long for him to get angry. Opanyin Poku added Kofi Atta was a cocoa farmer; he was married, his wife died and his daughter left. He did not have friends; not good friends. Opanyin Poku in explaining further said Kofi Atta's wife gave birth to a daughter, Mensisi. After the birth, the old ladies came and whisper to Kofi Atta that in his hut that the wife have given birth to a daughter, he just took off after hearing that news to celebrate with palm wine without knowing that the wife have pass on after given birth. When news later on got to Kofi Atta that the wife have pass on, he cried for several days and nights not wanting to even look at the sky for many months. Yaa Somu, Kofi Atta mother-in-Law with others people advice Kofi Atta to stop mourning the dead and take care of the living (his daughter whom he is yet to see). Mensisi was with the mother in law for a year after his father Kofi Atta came for her. When Mensisi first came, Kofi Atta was seen everywhere with his daughter to the surprised of most people for the love and care he seems to have for this girl. It was not so long when Kofi Atta started beating Mensisi mercilessly at all times, he was advice by many including Mensisi mother-in-law to stop the cruel beatings meted out to Mensisi. But Kofi Atta will not listen to any one, Mensisi really suffers the unexplainable beatings in the hands of his father to the point that the men in the village threaten to kill him (Kofi Atta) the next time he lays his hands on Mensisi. Mensisi have lost three pregnancies for James her husband due to the terrible beatings from his father. Mensisi mother-in-law (Yaa-Somu) who could no longer contained Kofi Atta's irresponsibility and cruel behavior, invoke a curse on Kofi Atta. The curse was that anytime Mensisi conceives, Kofi Atta will lose or reduce twelve years in his age but will still be of the same mind as an adult to understand how it feel to be under the mercy of someone else. It then meant anytime Mensisi conceives, Kofi Atta's punishments or woos will normally begins. Kofi Atta was beating Mensisi one day and before I (Opanyin Poku ) could get there, there came a very young muscular man from the forest entering Kofi Atta's hut, it was Mensisi first child that she delivered dead as a results of the father's cruel beatings that returned as a young man to protect the mother. Kofi Atta started looking young; thinking he was handsome he tried dating women from the next village but the reality struck on him when the second and third children arrived, Kofi Atta was drastically reduced to an unexplainable thing, producing the strong stench in his own hut. Opanyin Poku said but for the police and the other experts, the villagers would have dealt with that thing (remains) under Kofi Atta hut their own way.

Kayo after hearing the true story of Kofi Atta from Opanyin Poku also spoke to Opanyin on police matters, and what he need to say in case the police came and want to interview him.
 Kayo and Opanyin seems to just agree on these Ivory Coast people just to satisfy inspector Donkor's need for a CSI report with international implications.   The Inspector finally arrived in Sonokrom with his convoy, after going the report presented by Kayo in a CSI Style; he granted an interview to the press that came with him in a very arrogant manner claiming credit for himself and taking many photographs. But guess what, that was not the true story or revelation of what was found under Kofi Atta's hut, Kayo knew the actual truth. He (inspector Donkor) later on even wanted to kill Kayo claiming he know too much about the investigation and yet refusing to be appointed as head of BNI. He was not ashamed mentioning that he have been in the Service for a long time hence he know how to commit a crime (kill Kayo) and cover it up.  Luckily on the part of Kayo, Sergeant Mintah had removed the bullets from inspector's Donkor pistol, don't forget Kayo first thought Mintah was an enemy, little did he know that this Sergeant Mintah would be of help and perhaps save his life one day. Kayo escape through the forest back to Sonokrom, and told Opanyin all that had happen.

tailbluereading 3.JPGWaoow! What a society we live in, Nii Ayikwei Parkes have exposed us and many others who have read this book the kind of societies we live today; we live in societies where most people at the top hates the truth rather results is what they are interested, some are never ready to accept that there is more to book knowledge. Respect and humility are greater weapons in unearthing whatever one wants or need to know.

We had our discussions on the final chapters of the book at Sherigu and the Gowrie libraries; I went with the sumbrungu Librarian to Sherigu and to Gowrie Libraries for our final discussions yesterday the 21st of June 2017. On our way back from Gowrie library, we stop by one small forest on the way full of beautiful rocks to listen to the many birds too that was there singing their songs and also have a feel of the forest breeze.

Overall we are very glad reading this book, and would recommend it as something quite different, enjoyable and provoking to do more thinking. I am hoping to see this man ( Nii Ayikwei Parkes)  soon and perhaps clear our doubts on some of the happenings in the tale.

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Books, reading, and libraries relevant to Africa by Michael Kevane, co-Director of FAVL and economist at Santa Clara University.

Other contributors include Kate Parry, FAVL-East Africa director, FAVL Burkina Faso representative Koura Donkoui, FAVL Burkina Faso program manager Krystle Nanema, and FAVL friends Emilie Crofton and Elisee Sare.

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