not carefully or expertly made
I continued to climb, slowly and assuredly, until I was facing the machine’s
a small growth of trees without underbrush
Without anyone seeing, I ran into the blue gum
grove behind my house, leaned against a tree, and tried to make myself clean.
leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
They’d take me aboard their planes and force me to fight, leaving me for dead along the magic battlefields. And as my soul drifted alone and
forsaken above the clouds, my body would be cold by morning.
I ran all the way home to where my father sat against the house, plucking a pile of
rise and move up and down, as in waves
“Oh yes, we were just in time,” he said, then started laughing in that way that made me so happy, his big chest
heaving and causing the wooden chair to squeal.
In a land of poor farmers, there were too many troubles for God and man alone. To
compensate for this imbalance, he said, magic existed as a third and powerful force.
cause to happen or to occur as a consequence
During this time, just northwest of our village, a ferocious black rhino began
wreaking terror across the land.
widely known and esteemed
This man was Mwase Chiphaudzu, whose magic was so superior he was
renowned across the kingdom.
a path or strip
Standing atop the Rock of the Edible Flies, the chief pointed down to a giant
swath of green earth and turned to Mwase.
very lively and profitable
So Mwase returned to Lilongwe and got his family, and before long, he’d established a
carve with an edge tool
His skin was so dry and wrinkled, his feet looked like they were
chiseled from stone.
set in motion, start an event or prepare the way for
Hunts were usually
initiated by one man, the mwini chisokole, or owner of the hunt, who called together all the willing men from the surrounding villages.
walk with a lofty proud gait
Once when I was very young, a magic dancer appeared in our courtyard,
strutting like a cock and hissing like a snake.
having or wielding force or authority
In these places where they practice, their
potent magic takes on many shapes.
past due; not paid at the scheduled time
Magic lions are sent to kill
delinquent debtors, and snakes the size of tractors can lie in wait for you in your fields.
bitter conflict; heated often violent dissension
This leads to great confusion in the kingdom of the devil, and this
strife leaves many dead and injured, which is why children make the perfect soldiers.
We respected the power of juju, even feared it, but my family always trusted our faith would
a house roof made with a plant material (as straw)
These men were appearing in films shown in the local theater, which was really just a
thatch hut with wooden benches, a small television, and a VCR.
a notable achievement
exploits of Rambo and Delta Force became confusing to some, who’d never imagined men escaping entire armies, while still managing to kill so many people.
spongelike central cylinder of the stems of flowering plants
After removing the core, we chewed up bits of maize
pith and shoved them down the barrel, followed by paper spitballs to create a seal.
a complaint about a wrong that causes resentment
As usual, we found a line of truck drivers, market women, farmers, and traders waiting outside under the blue gum trees to share their concerns and
the act of getting involved
“We have an issue that requires your
intervention. The land you granted me fifteen years ago is being encroached upon by my brother’s son. I need you to help so there’s no bloodshed.”
impinge or infringe upon
“We have an issue that requires your intervention. The land you granted me fifteen years ago is being
encroached upon by my brother’s son. I need you to help so there’s no bloodshed.”
cause to undergo the breakdown of sugar into alcohol
The cartons discarded by the drunkards at Ofesi once held Chibuku Shake Shake, a kind of beer made from
fermented maize that is popular in Malawi.
model of excellence or perfection of a kind
After washing out the booze, these cartons were
ideal for making the chassis of a toy truck.
the skeleton of a motor vehicle
After washing out the booze, these cartons were ideal for making the
chassis of a toy truck.
group of motor vehicles operating under the same ownership
That way, when you saw a tire track in the dirt, you knew instantly if it belonged to the great
fleets of Kamkwamba Toyota, for instance, or Gilbert Company LTD.
a fleshy underground stem or root, often used as food
We then dug up large, round
tuber roots called kaumbu and carved them into wheels, using blue gum poles as axles.
someone who attempts to convert others to a doctrine
If it weren’t for the great Scottish
missionary David Livingstone, the Yao and Chewa might still be at odds today.
put up with something or somebody unpleasant
endured this teasing, because what else could he do?
caused to be unloved
Fumulani was singing one of his most beloved songs, “Sister,” about his
serenely self-possessed and free from agitation
Struggling to stay
composed, my mother said, “I’ll have to think about that one,” then turned and ran away.
flow forth in a sudden stream or jet
In a matter of seconds, the man lay on the floor with blood
gushing from his ears.
enjoy to excess
“Kamkwamba,” he said, “I’ve always advised you not to
indulge in these unnecessary fights. Someday you’ll be killed or kill someone else, and look what happened here. You’re my friend, and I don’t want to lose you...."
a wide and open space or area as of surface or land or sky
The following night while asleep, my father was visited by a dream. All he saw was darkness, nothing but an endless
expanse of black.
group of people related by blood or marriage
We lived in this house for three years until our growing
clan became too big.
argue over petty things
My bedroom became my fortress against the
squabbling girls, a hideaway where I could be alone with my thoughts.
swell or protrude outwards
Phiri was breathing heavily and ready to attack. His hands were in fists and the veins in his arms
bulged like tree roots.
make ineffective by counterbalancing the effect of
Although mangolomera never weakens, it can be
neutralized for short periods of time using the green vines from a sweet potato plant.
confined or restricted with or as if with a rope or chain
Phiri kicked and screamed like a
tethered animal, but my father held on tight.