utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically
Kwasi snatched back the coconut and ran off then, laughing and making kissing noises as he
chanted, “Besa my love, Besa my love, Besa my love!”
a person's manner of walking
She headed there, walking leisurely, with just the slightest awareness of a certain new roundness to her hips and smoothness to her
gait as she waited for Besa to catch up with her.
pledged to be married
Amari and Besa had been formally
betrothed to each other last year.
with strained or eager attention
intently at his face and realized he was worried.
any joyous diversion
“Your father and the rest of the elders will decide, but I’m sure the visit of such strangers will be cause for much
strong and sharp to the sense of taste
Throughout the village, the
pungent smells of goat stew and peanut soup, along with waves of papaya and honeysuckle that wafted through the air, made Amari feel hungry as well as excited.
Everyone in the village came out of their houses to see the
astonishing sight—pale, unhealthy-looking men who carried large bundles and unusual-looking sticks as they marched into the center of the village.
kindness in welcoming guests or strangers
However, the unusual-looking men were accompanied by warriors from the Ashanti tribe, men of her own land, men her people had known and traded with, so even if the village elders were concerned, it would be unacceptable not to show
the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect
Heroism is the
dignity of our ancestors, and, in their name, we welcome you.
state of violent mental agitation
Their bodies swayed, their hands clapped, their feet stomped in a glorious
frenzy, all to the rhythm of the drums.
a following of one thing after another in time
More explosions followed in rapid
succession, then everyone was screaming.
extreme distress of body or mind
Amari’s mother screamed in
anguish and bit her captor’s hand.
strong and sharp, as a taste or smell
The smell of sharp,
acrid smoke, not of gentle hearth fires, but of the flames of destruction, followed them.
unproductive of success
Kwasi held her hand tighter and they ran even faster, Amari trying in
vain to be as invisible and swift as the wind.
a restraint that confines or restricts freedom
Her arms were wrenched behind her, and iron
shackles with heavy, rusty chains between them were snapped onto her wrists, holding them there.
All of the homes had been burned, their roofs of thatch and walls of reeds
consumed by the fire.
any customary observance or practice
The charred and bloodied bodies of relatives remained where they had fallen, with no one to perform proper
rites for burials, no one to say the prayers for the dead.
Once the villagers were all linked, a white face pulled the first person with a rope, and those linked to him
lurched forward as well.
get the meaning of something
As she walked, she tried but couldn’t
comprehend the incredible cruelty of the men who had done this.
a raised mark on the skin
Her back was soon a patchwork of
welts from being whipped when she could not keep up with the rest.
flow over or cover completely
engulfed her next—the odor of sweat and fear, of body wastes and hopelessness.
feeling or showing thankfulness
She could not remember the last time she had eaten, so when the guards tossed some chunks of bread through the opening, she was
void of thought or knowledge
She showed Amari how to walk with a limp and look with a
vacant, stupid stare to make sure the soldiers would pass her by when they looked for women to come to their rooms.
penetrate or cut through with a sharp instrument
Intense, fiery pain
pierced the sweaty softness of the skin above her left shoulder.
wear off or die down
The salve must have been effective, for the intense pain gradually
subsided and was replaced by a duller throbbing that would not go away.
spread out or scattered about or divided up
It had been a long time since they had been given anything to eat, and she was amazed when the holding pen was opened and generous portions of water and food—fresh fruit, boiled cassava, and some kind of fish stew—were
distributed to them.
a discussion intended to produce an agreement
They had been won in battle or traded in
negotiations between villages and tribes.
undergo or be subjected to
She thought of Kwasi, the little bird who would never fly again, but, in a way, she was glad he would not have to
endure any of these horrors.
Bubbling, churning, even leaping onto the land, it seemed to Amari that the ocean was reaching out to grab and
prolonged unfulfilled desire or need
She looked back with
longing at the land of her birth.
a song or hymn of mourning as a memorial to a dead person
It was the
lament sung at a funeral—a death song.
They were whipped and chained and led back to the
fetid dungeon where they had been all night.
feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
In spite of her injuries, Afi managed to twist her lips into a
depriving one of self-esteem
This is just the beginning of many nights of horrible
Every morning the women were fed,
doused with salt water, and made to dance.
very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
Rats, now grown huge and healthy, chewed on the
emaciated bodies of some of the men chained there.
Too weak to move, she lay huddled in a ball,
bemoaning the fact that she was still alive.
harass or assault sexually; make indecent advances to
The sailors were no longer allowed to
molest the women at night.
action taken in return for an injury or offense
Besa glared at him, but he understood the danger of
showing a brooding ill humor
The girl had a
sullen look on her face, and she seemed to be the only person not interested in what was going on at the slave sale.