It’s part of our culture for the elders to seat kids around them under a tree and narrate a old time wise story. It may be funny or entertaining, but above all, it has to carry a message that will last for generations and generations.
Some of these stories will have been told by their great-grandfathers, and repeated thereafter. My grandfather was a very talented mimic and always had funny stories, but he had one puzzle on his mind.
Being disappointed by his elders after they died and never got back to him, he decided to share his pain and disappointments with us.
“Kids, your elders had promised to return to me from the dead and tell me how it is where they are. But since I’ve been waiting, no one has ever even appeared in my sleep to wake me up. And that’s why I gather you here today, to ensure you that after I am gone, it won’t be longer than a week before I come back to tell you where people go after they are dead.”
This theory stunned us all, being a bunch of 7-year-olds, we could not wait to hear from him after he was gone. The children of the village begged that he be buried in the school yard where we played soccer so we could see him fulfill the promise. We believed in him and started spending hours in that yard playing and paying attention. Weeks went by, months and a year until the kids started lamenting that grandfather lied just like he was lied too by his elders.
Later when we were 10 years old, his wife seated us under the same tree and narrated a story about death. She supported her story with the Bible proving to us that, once someone is dead, he has no part in the world of the living anymore, he can never feel, hear or understand. It took us a while before we could believe her, but this remains one of the more complicated stories of my generation.