Thursday, November 29, 2012



I just finished reading "Worthless People". Don't know when I have identified more with a book. But it broke my heart - it's just too realistic and therefore painful! Seriously, I'd love a sequel but I truly appreciate the book. Thank you so much for writing it.
If anyone out there has not read Tim Wilson’s book "Worthless People", do yourself a favor - read it.

Kirkie Hunter-Dorsey

Bravo Tim! I have enjoyed your book "worthless people”! Interesting about the fence around the boarding school but also interesting about when Dave was talking to his "African parents" about fences. I hope you will write some more "fiction"! Wow the Lord has blessed you with the gift of words!

Ginna Scott

Tom & I received Tim's book, "worthless people" in the mail Saturday AM. by late night I was well into it! I could hardly wait for company to go home after dinner so dive back in … well worth the read. Tim, write another one!

Bill Teasdale

Just finished reading Tim Wilson’s book "worthless people". I highly recommend it! Well done, Skeeter!... err Rungu! :)

Cate Remme

Tim, I am still basking in the glow of Worthless People, please give us another book on way to a series. Your insights and delightful writing takes the reader out of ourselves and right back in at the same time. An outstanding published work Tim. We want more! I am so impressed by your insights into the ultimate conditions of human nature... and answering the question of who are the true Worthless People...?.

Bill Hunter

I read Worthless People and was completely enchanted by it, so much so that I could hardly put it down when I started reading.  I'm not much of a literary critic, but I thought it was excellent writing and the material smacked of authenticity.  I hope you will keep on writing.  You seem to have the gift, though how easy it is for you is hard to tell.  You would do a real service by continuing to gently surface issues missionaries don't like to discuss.  It might not offer you celebratory kudos from the missionary community but would help confirm what some of us, perhaps all too subliminally, thought were somewhat askew even when we were smack-dab in the middle of it all. 

John Benson

Just a note. I just finished reading your manuscript. It really kept my interest and I was not sure how it would end up. It had a lot of insight into the fact that we were never allowed to stay in East Africa. I often liken us missionary kids to Palestinian exiles. My wife thought that was a bit overblown, but I do have strong sense of being in exile since I have tried so hard to get back to the Africa over the years and never been able to do it, except for short periods of time. I think what you have written is very strong and beautifully written. You have brought out the thinking of many of us, but most importantly yourself, in a unique way.

James Roland, Senior Writer, RedFence Magazine

Tim Wilson spins old-time adventure stories laced with heart-breaking beauty and potent social commentary. The result: an exciting novel that's impossible to put down. Worthless People challenges every Western thought you've ever had about Africa; you cannot walk away unchanged. Fiction this good demands water cooler banter and book clubs that discuss it long into the night.

AK Bookworm  

If you are looking to see the world through a different set of eyes, this is a book for you. The struggles that the main character Dave must go through give the book a very mythical feel. What sets this book apart from others set in Africa is that it examines the diverse regions and cultures that make up this almost mystical continent in an extremely respectful White perspective. During a time when missionaries found Africa a popular destination, Dave and his friends illustrate what it was like growing up and attending school in more rural locations. The friends that Dave makes on this journey to adulthood provide important life lessons in a very legendary tone that shapes who he becomes and gives him a confidence that would otherwise have never blossomed.

Cecilia A. Choukalas

This is a fun, quick read. It interesting and informative since it is set in a different culture. It also causes you to think about relationships and how you affect other people. Add it to your library!


I read your book twice, once for the plot…it’s a page-turner…and then to better understand it.  It is well written.  I love the hunting and tracking descriptions; I find them so fascinating.  I think you were balanced in showing the dark side of both the African and American cultures.


I'm giving this story four stars because the characters are strong and real and I loved them - enough to cry for them at one point.  I love the length of this story. It's not a short story, but it can be read pretty quickly, which is great if you don't have time to get lost in the book world as often as you'd like to. I really wish there were more stories of this length.


This book is a small work of art and contains in it all the things that make a story great. It made me think more deeply about my own relationships, culture, and the world at large.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chapter Two

Worthless people
In the discarded husk of yesterday's sugarcane
the ant sees a harvest.
an African proverb

Brad glanced at his two friends as they stood at the edge of the African rainforest that would be their home for the next few days.  Between the guarded gate of Highland Academy and the forest’s edge, they had divested themselves of all things western. From here on, they would speak only Swahili, their first language.
            The boarding school existed to provide an American based education to the children of foreign workers in Africa.  Most of the students were in Africa temporarily while their parents, on professional sabbaticals, did relief work in Africa; these students had little understanding of the Africa they often reluctantly lived in.  The three boys belonged to a much smaller group of students who had spent most or all of their lives in Africa.  The American teachers found many in this small group painfully challenging, who resisted the value of learning that Richard Nixon had just resigned as President on the other side of the world. For these young “white” Africans, no education compared to what they learned around the village fires from African tribal elders.      
            “Ready?” Brad asked.  Scott and Dave nodded. “We will head first for mossy rock and forage for materials for our hunting weapons there.” 
Brad’s two companions were opposites in almost every way.  Scott was tall.  The constant sparkle of humor in his eyes and broad, contagious smile won him a wide range of friends at the school. He garnished the top scores in class, to the enthusiastic commendations of the teachers who punctuated their praise with the most important endorsement the school offered: “This one is going to make it just fine in America.” Scott had never been to the America that his missionary parents called home.  His athletic abilities earned him the midfielder position on the high school football team (but the American coach called it soccer).  That was where Brad, who played wing, first met Scott.  
Brad was in tenth grade but it was his first semester at the academy. He first met Scott who was still in ninth grade but was already playing on the high school football team.  Brad played right wing and striker and Scott was a midfield player.  Scott recognized a fellow African in Brad and invited him to join Dave and him on some weekend rifle hunts near the school.  All three were skilled hunters with a rifle.  That was when Brad noticed that Scott had one weakness: he had a hard time sitting still.  He was the best shot with the gun, but too often scared the prey away with his impatience.  At times, it took the combined efforts of both Brad and Dave to keep him still.  Brad and Dave could do the ‘walk of the leopard’—a high-stepping, flat-footed stride which allows one to walk noiselessly upon prey— for miles at a time, but Scott tended to get distracted and would predictably snap a twig or rustle leaves at just the wrong time. 
This was going to be Brad’s second hunting trip with the friends and it promised to be a new experience.  Scott and Dave told him that when they made the trip, they took no weapons except for one knife apiece.  They explained that they would find the materials and build hunting weapons as they went through the forest.  Brad had never heard of anyone doing this before, but his friend’s confidence was convincing, and Brad could not back down from the challenge.  Scott and Brad brought large hunting knives, but Dave brought a small four-inch curved blade on a leather strap around his neck.  Brad stared in disbelief at the small piece of metal that seemed to have little hunting or defensive value.  Scott eagerly told him that a blacksmith in the northern desert had given it to Dave as a gift, and with that little tool, Dave built his weapons and traps. 
             As they stepped into the rainforest canopy, Brad took the lead.  They decided that Brad’s tracking skills were best and he should go first.  Scott could use the bow better than the other two, so he would follow close behind.  Dave would lag behind, making and repairing the hunting weapons.  The boys had grown up in the African rainforests; they understood its struggle of life and death: the vigorous growth of trees, plants and flowers drawing life from the pungent rot of dying and decaying trees, plants and flowers.  Shafts of life from the sun poking into the dark decay. Fluttering butterflies, insects and birds crashing about, eluding the waiting clutches of snakes, spiders and bats.  Leopards lay in wait to feast on the abundance of bush antelopes.   The ubiquitous water, dripping from broad leaves, moss and flowers, life-giving to the living and decay to the dead.  For these boys, this was their living, their life, their banquet of opportunity.   
“Hey Dave, are you doing okay?” Brad asked.
The scuffling figure rounded a clump of brush, several rotting logs behind Scott and waved to let Brad know he was fine. 
 In contrast to Scott, Dave’s short slight build was accompanied by a slow and awkwardly limping step which appeared painful at times.  He could run barely faster than he could walk, and his running stride had a ridiculous wobble that made him the brunt of constant ill humor with the other students.    His wild, curly, reddish-black hair demonstrated a resolute determination to remain a stranger to both brush and comb.  His tangled mop of hair punctuated the angst the teachers felt in their desperation to tame the beast before letting him loose in America. “This one will never make it,” became the mantra that followed him at school. He never really passed subjects, teachers just sent him to the next level hoping someone else would have better luck with him. Dave stayed quiet and alone at school. He did not seem to mind that he had few friends and cared even less what reputation he garnished with his teachers.   “Scott, it seems like this will be a pretty tough walk for us, we’ve a long way to go.  Do you think Dave is strong enough to keep up with us all the way there?” Brad asked.  
 “I wouldn’t even think of wandering this deep into the Kulima rainforests without Dave watching my back, and you’d be a fool if you ever tried it. Dave is better in these woods than you or I will ever be.” 
This was the first time Brad had ever heard anger in Scott’s voice. “Sorry Scott, not another word.”
            Brad wondered what lay beneath Dave’s stoic exterior. He never seemed to laugh or smile and he kept his distance from most in the school.  Some of the African maintenance workers at the school had told Brad that Dave had unusual connections with African elders in the area and that stories were told about him around the village fires, but the stone-faced skinny runt that Brad knew at school gave no indication of the stories that surrounded him in the African villages outside the campus. 
            “Hey Brad, let’s stop a little,” Scott said. 
Scott wanted them to wait for Dave to catch up a little.  He showed great patience with Dave and never seemed to mind to wait for Dave while he rested or needed to catch up.  Despite his limitations, Dave demonstrated good hunting skills with a rifle, but he lacked the strength to use a bow.  However, Dave built the bows that Scott and Brad used and proudly displayed in their dorm room.  Brad had never seen better quality hunting bows than the ones Dave made. Scott bragged often about Dave to Brad, even claiming that Dave’s trapping skills were the best in Africa—of course, Scott’s “Africa” was comprised of the central highland rainforests of East Africa, and he did not really know any other trappers.  Brad found it odd that the popular and chatty Scott bragged so much about his feeble, out-cast friend, Dave.    If it were not for Scott, Brad knew that he would never have tried to get to know Dave.  But Scott and Dave had some sort of bond that he never understood. 
Scott and Dave had grown up together in the little village Kagawe. Three times a year at the trimester school breaks, they would walk through the rainforest, hunting, as they made their way to their village.  They never took what their parents considered the “safe route,” a long looping road that connected Kagawe to the school.  Brad was excited that they had invited him to come along with them this time.  His Canadian parents taught in an African school among the Wavuvi over two hundred miles east of the school.  Brad’s parents arranged with Borman to fly him home from Kagawe later in the week, so he could go on this hunt. 
             They arrived at the mossy rock.  It was as deep into the Kulima rainforests as Brad had ever been. The big rock was on top of a hill.  It provided a natural lookout over the deep emerald green treetops with a shimmering misty haze rising above the trees from the wet forest floor. 
            “We should stop here and make the weapons before we go any farther in,” Brad said. 
             All three hunters began to collect wattle branches for Dave’s traps, and to look for mahogany branches for Brad and Scott’s bows and arrows.  Soon Scott and Brad each stood with a small handful of useful items while Dave staggered slightly under an armful of gathered treasures. 
Scott looked at Brad who shook his head in amazement at all the things Dave had found. “I told you, Brad, you haven’t seen anything yet.”  They found a fallen log in a clearing.  Without a word, Dave showed his friends the skill of making tightly wound string for their bows by rubbing and twisting long strips of vines across the log.    
“This is so cool, Dave,” Scott said. He grinned at Brad as they watched Dave go to work. He had always wanted someone from the school to know his little friend the way that he did.      
Scott and Dave’s birthdays were within one month of each other and they had experienced much of Africa together.  Together they had sat and learned at the feet of the Kulima elders, made friends with the same Kulima children, and always hunted together.  Scott had the advantage of size and strength.  Many thought that Scott was the smart one of the two, but Scott knew a side of Dave that others did not often see.  His little friend had a deep and connected understanding of the rainforest that surrounded them.  Scott could give the scientific and African names for all the plants and trees in the forest; Dave, on the other hand, did not know or care about their names, but he knew how to use them to his advantage.  Dave would tell Scott that an animal’s best advantage is in its instincts, but the humans’ advantage is in their creativity.   
“See, Brad, we will use these vine strings for our bows until we get our first animal.  Then Dave will replace them with braded gut or skin to make the bows stronger.”
While his friends worked on the bow-strings, Dave took out his odd little knife and began to scrape and shape two long branches into hunting bows.  He handed one nearly-completed bow to each of them to finish up with their oversized knives while he began to work on his trap. 
He took thin wattle branches, which would bend in half without breaking, and began to weave them together into a flattened basket.  He wove a freshly made vine-string around the outer edge and laid his trap on the ground to test it.  He envisioned a small animal crossing over the basket and pulled the string; the basket snapped shut around the would-be prey.  Scott and Brad laughed at Dave’s feigned conquest, to which he bowed slightly and came over to help them finish their tasks.  Armed and ready, the boys slipped back into the shadows of the trees and began to work their way deeper into the woods in the general direction of Kagawe. 
  Scott never knew exactly what caused Dave’s limitations. “Some sort of birth defect,” Scott’s mother told him once. “Your friend has bad legs and a bad heart.”   Dave never talked about it, never complained, and asked Scott to never defend or try to protect him at school.  Once, Scott overheard his missionary father telling his mother that Dave’s father “was a ticking time-bomb.”  At school, Scott looked up some of the other words that he had heard his father use, words like “molestation” and “incest.” An African asks few questions, but Scott became very protective of his best friend afterward, despite Dave’s protest.
Scott loved these hunting trips when they took no weapons.  Even the Kulima people said that Dave hunted better than their best hunters.  They admired him even more because he did not use a bow or spear to hunt.  Scott grinned to himself as he watched Brad checking tracks and looking for signs of prey ahead of him. He wondered how long it would take before Brad would understand Dave the way he did. 
Dave lived by the stories of his mentors.  His African education was not limited to the Kulima farmers that raised him. Not far from the school, in the valley beyond the rainforests, were the great savannah lands of the Ibutho people.  They were proud of their large herds of cattle and renowned for their skills as warriors.  Dave would visit a chief of the Ibutho people named Lenana.  The old man explained to Dave that humans have been given two eyes.  One is the eye of the predator and the other is the eye of the prey.  In order to live well in the world, one must learn to see with both eyes.  The predator looks too closely for the prey and misses the predator, and the prey looks too closely for the predator and misses the prey.  Dave watched as his friends focused like predators looking for signs of prey.  He smiled to himself as he watched them walk past the silent stares of both predator and prey. 
His friends walked directly under a colobus monkey perched on a low branch just above their heads.  The monkey, dressed in deep black with a mask of white whiskers around its face, cocked its head in bemusement as the two hunters passed.  As Dave approached, he waved slightly to the monkey. The colobus seemed insulted by the gesture and scrambled, crashing up the tree.  Dave smiled to himself as his friends whirled around, bows drawn; trying to see what fiend or foe had escaped their notice. 
“Colobus,” Dave said, casually pointing over their heads.  “Meat is no good.” His slightly embarrassed companions turned and continued their hunt.  Dave always waited to let his friends make the first kill. 
Several times throughout the day he saw a dark movement on the left side of his companions.  The movement never showed a shape, but he felt certain it belonged to a man rather than an animal.  He held his hand with an open palm pointed up and outward, showing a sign of peace to let the stranger know that he had been detected and that Dave had no ill intent.  He did not see a return sign, but still felt no danger, so he continued to follow his friends. 
Brad held his hand straight up to let his companions know that he had detected something.  Scott stopped behind him.  Both boys armed their bows with one of the arrows Dave had made.  
When Dave caught up, Scott eagerly pointed to a narrow worn path in the underbrush not more than eight inches tall.  He flapped his hands indicating a bird, cupped his hands slightly in a shape to indicate a size of a large chicken. He flipped up eight fingers indicating a small flock.  Dave knew it was a guinea fowl trail and nodded. 
Taking charge, Brad pointed to Scott and then to the path entrance.  Scott crouched down with an excited grin and prepared to shoot any fowl that might come up the trail.  Brad looked at Dave and pointed in a circular motion to the right of the brush.  Dave immediately began a leopard walk and circled to the exit path on the other side of the thicket.  He carefully laid out his braided trap on the trail and waited. 
Brad gave everybody time to set up and circled to the left, bow drawn.  He then turned and began a leopard walk straight toward the hiding gaggle of fowl.  A thwap broke the silence, echoed by the panicked clucks and screeches of the fowl.  Dave heard a thud and knew that one of the birds had been hit.  He listened as the birds scurried up their tiny trail toward Scott. 
A second thwap followed more screeches, immediately echoed by Scott shouting, “I got one!”
The panicked birds switched direction and began charging out of the other side of the brush and over Dave’s trap.  Dave let one go by and then sprang the trap, catching a big hen.  He quickly grabbed the hen by the legs, broke her neck and reset the trap.  The confused flock changed direction and went back up the trail toward Scott and Brad.  Dave could hear his friends talking and knew that they did not anticipate the flock coming back toward them.  He smiled slightly to himself as he heard the confused flock burst out in front of Scott and Brad who shouted in surprise, which turned the frightened flock again back down the trail toward Dave.  He once again let several birds go past the trap and then sprang it on a second large bird. He snapped the guinea fowl’s neck and decided that they had enough meat for the evening meal. He wrapped up his trap and walked back to Scott and Brad.  
Scott triumphantly held up a hen with two arrows in it.  “Brad shot it first and then I killed it.”  
Dave smiled his congratulations as he held up his two hens. 
“I never believed that trap would work,” Brad said.   
“It will be dark soon,” Dave said. “We should camp and cook these here.  Besides, we are being followed.”
“Kulima?” Scott asked, looking at Dave for evidence of concern on his face. 
“He is not a Kulima,” Dave answered, then shrugged to indicate he was not concerned.  
 All three friends returned to their more comfortable bond of silence.  The time for speaking was when the fire is built and the birds are dressed and cooking.  Scott eagerly anticipated the time after a successful hunt. He loved to cook; Dave loved to let him.  But the time of telling stories around the evening fire ranked highest for him.  Then, his friend Dave really talked.  They both knew stories they had heard from different African village fires, and when they hunted together, they would often invent new stories of their own.  Scott’s excitement grew as he realized this would be Brad’s first time to hear Dave’s stories. 
Brad worked quietly, lost in thought, when a sudden swishing sound and a loud thwap startled him.  He looked up to see an ebony black arrow impaled in a tree two feet above his head. 
“Everyone sit!” Dave ordered with rare but urgent authority. 
“Why is he shooting at me?” Brad asked, trying to restrain the slight tremble in his hands.     
“He is not shooting at you,” Dave said. “If he was, you’d be dead. He is a hunter, not a warrior.  He is just telling us to be quiet.  He will let us know when to move again.”
Dave looked in the direction of the shot, and with a raised hand, extended fingers; he waved once across his face, a sign of understanding.  Out of the thickets, he saw a hand extend in peace and disappear again.  Brad and Scott also looked but saw nothing.  A flushed excitement came over Scott’s face, but each time he tried to speak, Dave motioned him to silence. 
Brad stared at the black arrow with a single feather dangling from it.  He had never seen anything like it before, and did not like the idea of one being sent in his direction.  He remembered what Scott had said about never being in these woods without Dave.  He realized how much trust he had suddenly placed in Dave’s hands right then, and how terrified he would be if Dave had not been around to explain things.  He looked at the three dead birds on the ground.  The damage to one of them was significant with two arrows still in it.  The other two did not have a scratch on them. 
He looked at Dave again and realized he was seeing him for the first time. 
A second swishing sound and thwap came from the brush, followed by the bellow of a wounded animal.  Dave held both his friends in check with an open palm of his hand.  Out of the brush exploded a wounded bushbuck with an arrow deeply embedded in its side.  The wide-eyed antelope veered past the sitting boys and into the brush on the other side of the clearing.
Soon, another arrow whistled through the air and landed next to the first.  Dave stood up and began working.  Without a word, he motioned for his friends to do the same.  He waved the peace sign again toward the thicket and began to build and set traps around the clearing for the night.  His friends finished camp and worked on the meal. 
Dave stayed away from his friends to avoid questions until after the fire was prepared.  His excitement grew as he realized what he had just experienced.  At last, the flames sizzled as the hens slowly rotated on a spit which Scott had constructed.  Brad bundled leaves and placed them around the fire for sleeping.  The sky’s luster was giving way to the early cloak of darkness that was winding through the trees.  Scott and Brad waited by the firelight for Dave to join them. 
Soon, Dave sat facing the fire and his friends on the other side.  The moment that all of Africa waits for each day had finally arrived, when the tales flow and voices paint new textures into the old tales that extend back for thousands of years. 
“My friends,” Dave said, speaking slightly louder than the evening breeze rustling in the trees.  “Today, we’ve met our first Waduni.”
“Do you mean…”  Scott almost shouted, but quieted at Dave’s sudden gesture.  Scott watched a quiet excitement growing on his best friend’s face. 
For Dave, this moment seemed to brush away years of physical pain as well as his struggles with the white community.
“What’s a Waduni?”  Brad asked. “Should we take those arrows? They look amazing!”
“Try to take those arrows and the hunter will not miss your head next time,” Dave answered, flashing Brad a rare grin.    
“This is wild!”  Scott bubbled. “Tell Brad about the Waduni, Dave. I didn’t know they still lived around here!”
“You both know the Ibutho are semi-nomadic herders that live in the valley below the forests.” Both Scott and Brad nodded.  “You probably also know that they believe that their god has given all the cattle on the earth to them. They believe that any cow is stolen if it is in the possession of any people other than the Ibutho.  They will raid other tribes with force to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs.”
“I have heard that,” Brad said, “but what about the Waduni?” 
“A good story must last until the fire burns out,” Dave said. “You built a fire that may last all night.” 
 “I knew I used too much hardwood in that fire,” Brad said and chuckled.
“In order to be a true Ibutho,” Dave continued, “a man must own cattle in good health.  From time to time a man will lose his cattle to disease, sickness, drought or too many predators.  The Ibutho believe that one can only lose his cattle because of neglect and irresponsibility.  When a man loses his cattle, he is no longer an Ibutho.”
“What happens to such a person?” Brad asked. 
“He becomes a Waduni!”  Scott almost shouted in his eagerness for the story to continue.
“For the Ibutho, it’s irresponsible and wrong to eat meat from a wild animal,” Dave said, not swayed by the intrusions of his impatient friends.  “For them, cattle, goats and sheep are given to man for food.  In the mind of an Ibutho, eating any wild meat is disgusting and the result of irresponsibility.  The word Waduni means “the worthless people.” Because the Waduni are considered too irresponsible to be true Ibutho, they are forced to be hunters of wild animals.
“The Waduni have no real homeland.  They generally live on the edges surrounding the Ibutho lands.  Not long before our births, no Kulima farmers lived in this area.  Only the Waduni, chased out of the valley by the Ibutho, lived in these forests.  The Kulima moved into this area and they mistakenly think that they too have chased out the Waduni.
“I have had many conversations with the Ibutho Chief Lenana in the valley below.  He has told me that the Waduni are still up here.  He told me that they are a very proud people, and even though they are worthless to the Ibutho, they are still better than any other people.  The chief has told me that the Waduni are the best hunters on earth.  Even though the Ibutho disapprove of their worthless people, they’re very proud of the great skill of the Waduni hunters.  He told me that one never sees the Waduni unless they want to be seen.” 
“Do they mind being called Waduni?”  Brad asked. “And will we ever see this Waduni?”
Dave broke into a gleeful smile.  “Why don’t you ask him yourself?  He is sitting right next to you.” 
Both Brad and Scott jumped up in fright and then laughed in embarrassment as they realized that the quiet hunter had come in and sat between them.  The hunter pretended to ignore them and kept his eyes on Dave, but his bright white teeth showed between slightly parted lips. 
“We are Waduni,” the man stated. “Your friend has told our story well.  We are both worthless people and mighty hunters. But the fire still burns bright; the story cannot end here.  Your friend told you that no one can see one of our people unless he wants to be seen. Yet earlier today, your friend saw me, before I wished to be seen. He has the eyes of a Waduni. ” 
“We have prepared a meal from our hunt,” Dave said. “We would be honored if the Waduni would share it with us, and if you are far from the village, we would invite you to share our camp for the night. We can learn your name.  I would like to hear why you have shown your face to us.  We are white boys and our fathers are not friends of the Waduni.”
The Waduni and the three friends sat quietly for a few moments, stealing glances at each other while trying to absorb details of the other. Dave estimated the Waduni to be in his early twenties.  He had the chiseled facial features of an Ibutho.  He appeared to be well over six feet tall and had the long strong arms and legs typical of the Ibutho.  However, unlike an Ibutho, the hunter had short cropped, almost clean-shaven, hair, which seemed odd because usually only Ibutho women wore their hair short. He had no tattoos, no decorative scarring, and no beads. It seemed that worthless people did not wear any status symbols.  For clothing, the hunter had a single skin wrapped over his shoulder.  The animal skin had none of the red ochre that the Ibutho usually wear in their hair and on their garments.  He wore a simple skin belt with a sheathed knife, and in one hand he carried a shiny ebony bow and a sack filled with shiny ebony arrows.  Most Ibutho are lighter skinned than the Kulima, but this man’s skin seemed very black.  He must have applied some sort of mud or dye to help camouflage his skin during hunting.  White teeth and clear eyes stood in sharp contrast to his dark skin.  Dave had never seen a more simply and practically dressed African.  Dave felt like he had known this man forever but he did not even know his name.
The Waduni broke the silence first.  “I will tell stories, and I will tell you my name when the time is right and before the fire burns low.  But I will tell you first who you are to the Waduni people.  My great uncle is Chief Lenana of the Ibutho you spoke of.  My grandfather lost his cattle long ago and my father and I have been Waduni all our lives.  But the Ibutho still have some concern even for worthless people. 
“The Chief Lenana has sent a message to my father that we should watch for the white boy who hunts without weapons.  The Chief said that this white boy does not own cattle and is not worthy to be an Ibutho, but that he is as a Waduni to the white people.  My great uncle said we should be honored to have him among the Waduni.
“You are called Dave among the white people,” the Waduni said. “I know that among the Kulima you are known as he who understands.  My great uncle says that among the Ibutho you are called he who listens. Among the Waduni you are now called the hunter without weapons.
“The Waduni is honored to share the fire with the white boy hunters and their white Waduni friend.” The dark skinned hunter paused.  “Soon I must get the bushbuck that I shot.  I must get it before the leopard comes for it.  Then we can eat and share the stories of the firelight, and I would be honored to stay the night with you.”
“You mean you have not tracked it down yet?” Scott asked. “It is almost dark. How will you find it?”
“Your white Waduni friend can answer for me,” the Waduni replied.  “He has not tracked the bushbuck, but the hunter without weapons also knows already where it lies.  
“My father heard that you travel near our village through these forests between the rains.  He sent me to look for you to send his greetings.  I followed to see if you were the white Waduni.  I can now tell my village that I saw with my own eyes how it took two hunters to take one bird with two weapons, while another hunter took two birds with no weapon.  I have heard no stories of a Waduni doing that before. “  
“I am humbled that the father of my Waduni friend would send a greeting,” Dave answered quietly, “but now you will know that the stories told at the fires are bigger than the white boy who sits before you. If you are going to get the bushbuck, you would honor me if you would take these two hunters of the bow with you and show them your ways.  Words cannot teach like the feet. ” 
“Come, hunters of the bow,” the Waduni said.  He stood up with a flash of white teeth.  “The hunter without weapons wishes us to leave him alone for a little while.” 
Brad and Scott stood up; Scott beamed his gratitude to Dave, as both boys followed the Waduni into the darkness. 
Dave gritted his teeth as he slowly stood up while watching his friends disappear.  Muscle spasms and cramping shot streaks of pain up his weak back and legs.  Sweat began to pour down his cheeks and a quiet moan escaped his lips as he straightened his back.  Dave ached, but mostly, he ached in his heart for the strength to hunt with a bow.   
He stood looking at the two arrows still lodged in the tree and nodded to himself quietly.  Then the hunter without weapons went to check on his traps.