<p><strong>Adaptation from the yet-to-be published novel, A SEASON OF THE SUN by Ahaoma Kanu
hospital where I was assigned was constantly busy throughout the period
of the attacks. Day after day, soldiers wounded in battle were brought
over mainly by porters on foot with very few arriving on trucks, only a
few made it on their own. The intensity of the war at that period made
it impossible for the Red Cross to fly in their supplies which made us
run out of stock. The bandages got finished completely that we had no
option than to remove already used bandages from patients that were
older in the ward to be washed and used on fresh causalities. Three
qualified and elderly nurses came over from Umuahia to help us out and
another young doctor arrived from Orlu. </p>
constant arrival of the wounded, nearly dead and dead causalities made
the added human resources unnoticed. Dr. Nwosu worked day and night; we
worked during the day fear and uncertainty. Many of the casualties
that went into the surgery room were carried out dead because, at a
time, operations were carried out without anaesthetic. The patients
watched their shattered limbs and arms gruesomely cut off their body.
This led to many of them dying of haemorrhage. </p>
night, I watched as a soldier carried in another wounded comrade, the
wounded one was very elderly while the person that brought him was
younger almost as young as me if not for his enhanced biceps. As I
showed them a place to lay the wounded man down for me to administer
first aid, my kit being river water and a small face towel with a
length of bandage, I noticed the striking resemblance between the two
soldiers; they were father and son. The older man had been hit in the
hip and by the way his trousers was held to his waist by a rope which I
believed served as a belt, I was sure the man had lost so much blood. </p>
position and distance his son carried him contribution no doubt. As the
wounded man was laid down, his child pleaded with me.
<p>"<em>Biko, nyere nna m aka, ekwela ga onwu o biko</em>,"
he pleaded, I saw the pain and the fear with which he said those words.
He was ready to do anything to ensure his father did not give up. I
nodded as I started loosing the knot on the rope, the man cried out in
pains as my hands moved to check out the exact position of the wound.
The son disconnected the bayonet from the nozzle of his rifle quickly
and cut the rope, helping me to pull his father's blood soaked trousers
hang on, don't die, hang on," he consoled his father as he undid the
trousers; it was such a pitiful sight that it brought tears to my eyes.
It was such a horrible situation to watch your own father dying before
your very eyes and you could not do anything.
<p>"As I soaked the towel inside the iron bucket I had with to clean the area surrounding the wound, the man cried out,
<p>"<em>Ahh, Chineke mu, Alaoji bia kwa nu, Chineke bia kwa o</em>!"
<p>"<em>Papa ndo! Ndo! Sorry! Jisi ike</em>," his son consoled.
<p>"<em>Mmiri o, biko nun ye mu mmiri</em>!" he requested.
<p>"He needs water," The young man said to me as if I was deaf.
<p>I shook my head to indicate the request cannot be granted.
<p>"Please, give me water, Jesus, I am dying, I need a drink!" the father yelled, his son still looked at me questionly.
<p>"Give him water to drink please, he is my father!" he pleaded as tears rolled down his young eyes.
<p>"No, it would kill him," I told him.
<p>"<em>Chineke umu Africa, biko, mmiri</em>! I need water, my mouth is dry," the man groaned, I could see his loss of blood was sapping whatever energy he had left.
please don't die, please hold on," his son cried, "Nurse! Help me,
don't let my father die, please help me." He asked holding his dying
father's head on his laps. I cleaned the surface of the wound and the
man flinched and shouted with a very familiar painful shrill that I
had become accustomed to inside the hospital's butcher room,
<p>"Hmm, <em>chukwu </em>
<place><em>Ala</em></place><em> oji nwa oduma anaa</em>!
Blood trailed out slowly from the wound, whoever fired the shot aimed
to kill him instantly but instead his death was occurring slowly. I
went on to bandage his waist to stop the bleeding.
is the doctor?" the kid soldier asked with tearful pleading eyes, I
pointed towards the new doctor who was standing by the bed of another
Doctor!" the boy called out, leaping up and moving towards him, I cried
more for his pain; he was willing to keep his father alive. I looked
back at the dying man, his eyes were half closed and some saliva were
running down his mouth, his mouth squeezed into a smile as he looked at
this is how a man goes," he said a little audibly, I held his hand, not
really knowing what to say or do at that very moment. I knew the man
would be gone in a matter of minutes, I had seen cases like his in my
short stay at the hospital. I looked up on time to see the boy and the
doctor coming down to us. The doctor crossed over to where we were and
shifted the two weapons lying carelessly by the side.
<p>"Nurse, what do we have here?" the doctor asked as he bent down to have a closer look.
patient was brought in not long ago with a bullet wound to the pelvis,"
I narrated, "Must have lost so much blood and requested for water. I
tried to stop the bleeding." I finished the doctor lifted the bandaged
to study the wound closely.
<p>"The entry wound is a real bad case," he commented, "did you check if there's any exit?" he asked.
<p>"No, I replied.
<p>"That means the lead is still lodged in there, too bad," he said as he checked the man's eyes with his torch.
one will need someone to till the ground," the doctor finished as he
stood up; it was our code indicating a patient that may die soon and be
go get some pain killers across," the doctor announced getting up and
touching the boy briefly on the shoulders, "Be strong and be man." I
knew the doctor would not be back, the talk was just a way of buying
time for the expected to happen.
<p>"Ikenna," the dying man called out weakly.
<p>"Papa, I am here," his son replied.
<p>"<em>Icheghim na nga agbake na nka</em>," he started.
<p>"Papa, hold on the doctor is coming," the boy replied into his father's ears.
listen," the weak voice demanded, "I am leaving and want you to know I
died a very proud man. I am proud of you, you are a brave son."
<p>"Papa, you will not die, the doctor will soon be here. He went to get drugs for you," his optimistic son continued.
care of your mother and sisters, don't let them down and don't let
those bastards hurt you," his dying father kept uttering, his eyes were
closing and the strength in his voice was trailing with each word.
hang on, Papa, Doctor!" the boy shouted, "Nurse! Call the doctor, my
father is dying," As he shouted, his father's weak head kept shaking on
his laps with his body's movement. </p>
only thing I could do was to watch the tragedy happen; if I had had
power to give life, I would have been more than generous for the
son's sake. But being equally mortal, I cried at the demise of yet
another casualty. The poor boy started crying and calling his father
continuously, it was useless, the man was dead. I watched with tears as
the boy hugged the torso of his dead father whose nakedness was still
exposed with only the bandage rolled round his waist covering his
manhood partially. </p>
boy was still bent in agony when Dr. Nwosu appeared from the butcher
room wearing his same bloodstained gown. He watched the scenario for
sometime and then walked up to them and collected the two rifles lying
on the floor.
keep these inside my office," he instructed, "he will certainly come
back for it." Both of them left the scene as if nothing happened. I
stood by the side and grieved with the boy, his sobs continued for
sometime until he could cry no more. He got up and looked about with
reddened eyes which fell on me and asked, "Where will I bury my
father?" I did not know where the dead were laid; it was the job of
Elias and Orjiakor or any solider Dr. Nwosu assigned the duty. I went
and enquired from Elias and he led us that night to the place used as
burial ground for the fallen heroes. </p>
night the kid soldier called Ikenna carried the corpse of his father to
his final resting place, I held the lantern as Elias dug the grave.
Elias helped the boy put down his father's remains down the grave, the
body was completely stripped of its clothes as they were in short
supply and was needed by somebody else. </p>
said the prayer for the soul of the departed man and heard the boy's
tearful "Amen." Elias reminded him to perform the burial rite of dust
to dust and he grabbed some earth heaped by the side of the grave and
stared for some minutes at his dead father before he courageously said,
"Ashes to ashes, Dust to dust. Papa <em>Na gboo</em>." </p>
that Elias threw in earth and I did the same. I held the lamp as both
Elias and the boy covered the grave and marched on the grave. We all
walked back to the hospital together silently, when we got to the
entrance, the boy asked Elias, "Where is my gun?"
doctor took it to his office," Elias informed him. I watched as he went
in there and came out with it; the expression on his face was obvious,
he was no longer a boy, he was a soldier, a solider that was out for
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