Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Beer Maker. This is one of the stories I collected while working in South Sudan. Very moving.

A Beer Maker

Ajak Waal is a daughter of late former Anyanya One Commander Waal Marial. She was born in 1960s, and learned a lot from her mother.
“The soldiers of Anyanya One were as poor as church mouse,” she said.
Most of their families were catered by their wives and Adak’s mother was very instrumental woman in their polygamous family of Waal Marial and could support the whole family by brewing of beer . Adak’s mother was the third wife of Waal. In their struggle, the soldiers moved as far South as the neighboring Country of Congo which their base and training centre was situated and they left their wives in Sudan. The women decided how they can manage their families for instance, how they would get food, clothes, and again to new cloth was another trap of death. This was because new clothes were only got in towns which were all occupied by Arabs soldiers.
If Anyanya One soldiers got you with new cloth or salt, they expected you have been in the Town with Arabs and you might have betrayed them. Therefore, they dealt away with you by beheading the one caught in the action of trading with Arabs. Some people dealt in these forbidden commodities and customers dealt with care. For instance someone who bought salt which was on high demand could hide it where Anyanya One soldiers could not get it and it was only eaten at night around eleven when people were dumbfounded.
For the people who have taken long without the taste of salt, it can swollen their eye-brow, hands and even the whole body and jeopardized them to Anyanya One soldiers  because swollen  parts were sign and symptom of salt eaten. The Anyanya One soldiers could investigate till you revealed the truth.
“Here mother had already learned how to make the local brew and also had learned local alcohol, “she said. “Anyanya One leaders had permitted the soldiers to use some drugs like alcohol, marijuana because these drugs made guerrillas fought the enemy without fear,” she added. “My mother got this chance to make beer for the soldiers and they bought it from her and she could have huge turn over from her trade. My mother had one advantage of being the wife of the Commander and even though we were alone in the absence of my father, the soldiers could not rob her of whatever she possessed, alcohol was included. But our neighbors had terribly experienced this robbery from guerrilla soldiers. When I was the age of sixteen, my mother taught me how to make beer. I remembered , she told me “Ajak, my daughter , you need to learn how to make  beer. The Country can be in war for eight times and be in peace for eight times, it can be bad in eight times and be good in eight times.”  This was a common saying in war time or peace time. This means that youth and old need to be organized at all the times with their developed talents which can back them in any situation.
“I paid much attention to learn how to make beer and eventually I made it perfect and I could help my mother in making beer. Three years later the peace was signed and all the soldiers moved to Malou military barrack near Rumbek and my father was reorganized and deployed beyond Wau province. I remained with my mother and after a while she was frail and she could not continue making beer. By this time I was married and I had three kids. My husband was also still a student in Rumbek senior secondary school and I continued to support my husband to buy for a white short and a white shirt, black shoes which they called uniform. Alcohol was really on high demand during the cold weather and I could make it double times such that I can get high profit. My mother was with me. She sometimes did simple work like putting the fire wood under the pot when I had gone to fetch water. By that time we were not developed like the presence situation. In our time, we used clay pot for making beer and if you have fermented a drum of crude beer, it could take you two or three days to brew it. These red eyes you are seeing were not the original ones but it was caused by the smoke of making beer. But due to my situation at the time made me to be contended with it. My husband later graduated and got employed in Nuer as a water project coordinator and he was well paid and as a result he bought several cows without again realized how I had suffered during his studies. He bought fifty cows and he married a daughter of Marial Deng. After his marriage ceremony, he moved with his wife to the place of his work leaving me alone in the derelict place where the Atuot tribe always disturbed at night robbed me with things like groundnuts, grains and cows.
There I felt frustrated and committed adultery with a driver who later brought me problems of being dumped with four kids and the driver dumped me also like a thing on fire and I was confused what to do.
I later recovered my memory and I told myself, this was not the end of the world and I had to continue with my business. God was at my side and my beer was on market and earned me enough money to buy clothes for my children , gave them good feeding and  with little associates of beer ,there were  bad debtors who did not pay me at all but I did not give up. I also trained my daughters and now they make beer and in this time the utensils for beer has improved. They are making good money now and they support their families though they do not make as every time. The young ladies of this present time do not valued their contribution much to their families like our time. Now I always gave them an advice that the individual need to contribute to the family. For example, your husband whom you had put all responsibilities can one day die and if you had not accumulated enough wealth, you can be in depressions.
But the young ladies now has a very common saying that they still have red hands, which means when a husband dies when she is still young, she can marry another man. For us, we are now soil and grass ,” Ajak concluded.

This conclusion is always made by old people waiting their death but Ajak is still not very old.