In response to a piece I did on the war drums that seem to be engulfing our collective psyche today, one of my gentle readers, Nnaemeka Nnolim, businessman and media executive, sent me the manuscript of a book he is writing on recollections of childhood in Biafra. With his full permission, I extracted some excerpts from the manuscript to present a story that is deeply haunting.
GRADUALLY our stock of food went down and I was initiated into eating cassava leaves. This meant that we children had to go on hunts for lizards, grasshoppers, cricket and termites. How to catch termites? It starts with a serious hunt for elephant grass, collected in palm sized bundles. The expedition leads to an anthill and the elephant grass is pushed into holes for the ants to bite. It is gradually pulled out onto a plate, cup or any receptacle. This process is repeated until enough is collected to make soup.