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The Fire Within

Emmanuel Fru Doh

Publication Year: 2008

In Africa, there is unrest, and possibly tragedy, when new trends clash with traditional values. With a curmudgeonly stepmother who harasses her even as she spoils her own biological daughter, Mungeu', the protagonist, blazes a path for herself in the face of many odds. But things go terribly wrong when she falls pregnant. The dilemma of whether or not to keep the pregnancy, given society's expectations, flings this young woman into direct confrontation with a life that is beyond her years. She is bent on succeeding: she will keep her baby, and with her training at a girls' craft center, start a business and bring up her illegitimate child. But Mungeu' can only make plans as she realises before long that the authority to dispose of them does not rest with her alone; there are other powerful forces out there.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Dedication

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Prologue

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pp. 1-4

From a distance Pa Anye, Ndomnjie, Yefon, and her uncle Dr Wirghan could see the smoke rising slowly to about five to six feet before spreading out like a rejected offering. Then what appeared to be a pile of clothes by the side of a makeshift hearth moved slightly. As the group of four approached, the scene became clearer. ...

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Chapter One

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pp. 5-20

It is difficult leaving the warmth of thick bedding during the intensely cold dry season in Batemba. As if the cold was not enough, thoughts that had been with her all night also kept Mabel in bed. It struck her that her stepsister’s vomiting seemed to follow a certain pattern. She vomited in the mornings and in the evenings. ...

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Chapter Two

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pp. 21-33

Places were still dark. The wind raged outside and heavy raindrops played a lullaby on the tin roof. Mabel struggled out of bed. As she swung open the room door, the bright lights from the passage into the kitchen forced her to shade her eyes with her left hand. She was sure Mungeu’ had forgotten to turn the lights off, but then she caught the smell of meat frying. ...

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Chapter Three

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pp. 34-52

When Mungeu’ walked back to the hospital, the sun was already setting. She had bathed, eaten the food she had prepared the previous day and rested for some hours. She came ready for any eventuality, even if it meant spending the night again at the hospital. Approaching the private room where Mabel was, it occurred to Mungeu’ that room 15 B looked deserted. ...

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Chapter Four

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pp. 53-59

Months had gently rolled by since Mungeu’ and Yefon found themselves at Nju’nki. As it had turned out, Ndomnjie was himself a landlord with houses sprinkled around Nju’nki. His newest house, which still had rooms to be leased out, was around Sokwa, the heart of social and economic activities in the town of Nju’nki. ...

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Chapter Five

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pp. 60-63

Time passed, and as the days went by, Mabel’s life, gradually and without any fresh setbacks, returned to normal, and but for the gap created by Mungeu’s absence, she was her old self once more. Mabel, however, was bent on finding Mungeu’ without publicising it, but so much time had elapsed and she herself feared ...

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Chapter Six

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pp. 64-75

Early the following morning, hardly having slept, Ndomnjie opened the door of Mungeu’s house to let out his wife who thought it was necessary for her to go to their own house before the children woke up. Ndolo had virtually spent the whole night crying, and so the first thing she did as she stepped out into the street was to blow her nose ...

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Chapter Seven

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pp. 76-87

A couple of years had gone by quietly. Ndolo-Mabel was now five and in primary school. Mungeu’ and Yefon had done so well in managing Mungeu’s business to the point of adding a third arm—a giant provision store—to the tailoring and knitting units. They had named the entire business Mungeu’ Ventures (MV). ...

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Chapter Eight

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pp. 88-104

It was 10:00 am when Mungeu’ opened her eyes and sighed long and deep. She had overslept, tired from her sudden trip to and from Nju’nki in just two days. It was all a dream. She had been in the arms of that young man for whom she had worried herself so much. She felt those gentle yet penetrating eyes roll over her body soothingly. ...

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Chapter Nine

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pp. 105-112

With time, Mungeu’ had been to Batemba on two separate occasions during which time Adey was also on holidays—Christmas and Easter, each of which was two weeks long. She was now looking forward to the third term holiday which was the longest—three months. She felt herself longing to get to know Adey intimately. ...

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Chapter Ten

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pp. 113-120

In the morning, Adey awoke dreamily. His eyes strayed round the room. He saw his comb on the table, stuffed with hair strands far longer than his. He smelled the comb, “Yes, it’s Munny’s,” he confirmed. “So it was not a dream. She was here, and it all happened.” He was frightened when he re-enacted the scene all over again in his mind ...

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Chapter Eleven

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pp. 121-133

Adey had hardly slept that night. He had never been to Fosamou before, although he had gone through the town many times on his way down to the Forest Province. He was excited by the idea of staying away from his parents for the first time and working too. ...

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Chapter Twelve

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pp. 134-147

At Fosamou, Acongne, who had the keys of the office and the storeroom with him, went straight to work, while Adey and Wumboro went home to drop their bags off first. It was just the beginning of another tedious week, a boring contrast to their weekend. ...

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Chapter Thirteen

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pp. 148-152

Having fidgeted all night, Adey got up to face a bright morning. The sun promised to be out sooner than usual. The children were busy with their routine morning chores in Pa Adey’s compound and in the apartment occupied by tenants. The older ones swept the rooms and the surroundings, the younger ones washed the dishes used the night before, ...

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Chapter Fourteen

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pp. 153-164

As their taxi rolled into the Fosamou taxi park, Acongne, Wumboro, and Adey saw workers hurrying to their offices. Some were in township taxis or private cars, and others were trekking. Acongne once more removed the office keys from his briefcase and ran all the way to work, while Adey and Wumboro hurried home to leave their bags. ...

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Chapter Fifteen

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pp. 165-174

Her days with Loretta were reassuring. After work, Loretta would spend her evenings consoling her friend. At times, with the optimistic view that their plans would work out well, they would joke about Mungeu’s pregnancy and then examine her paunch, which they believed was bulging slightly when carefully scrutinized. ...

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Chapter Sixteen

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pp. 175-189

Mungeu’s trip to Nju’nki had been long and tiring, but after her bath and meal, she was beginning to feel much better with Ndolo-Mabel hanging around and trying to tell her everything that happened in her absence. Ndolo and Ndomnjie had spent almost all their afternoon with her and were just about leaving. ...

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Chapter Seventeen

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pp. 190-202

It was already dark when Adey walked in through the gates separating the wards from the outpatient consultation unit. The porter, an old man with a glowing pipe in his hand, was nodding asleep. As Adey walked along the verandas, the buildings looked like big transparent monsters. ...

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Chapter Eighteen

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pp. 203-209

It was past midnight when the convoy rumbled into the Batemba suburbs from the direction of Fosamou—the neighbouring town. In the darkness the late-night town shimmered like a lake of light in the valley-bed down below. The passengers gazed with admiration, some for the first time, from the top of the surrounding hills ...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956716838
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956558186

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2008