The next morning, John set Buttercup down for a bumpy but otherwise perfect landing at the Tarampura airstrip. He made a mental note that the strip of land carved from brush and trees would have to be groomed before it got out of hand. He also noted Marta wasn’t there to greet him.
“Hi, John! Are we going to fly on this nice day?” Tucker asked.
“I don’t think we can. The nurse and I still have a lot of villages to visit,” John said.
Numah smiled a bashful greeting.
“Where is Marta? Doesn’t she come to greet friends anymore?” asked Sandy.
“She want us to bring you. She fight with the village doctor,” Tucker said.
They climbed hurriedly to the village. They could hear Marta yelling loudly in the local dialect. When frustrated, she threw in intermittent English.
“What do you mean waving these feathers over him? This isn’t going to do any good. Just give it up and let me help,” Marta begged.
The witch doctor just grunted and continued his magic. Multi¬colored sacred bird feathers fluttered with the timed flicks of a nimble wrist as Mewpa ran them the length of the injured boy’s body. The young man was covered in skins and flower blossoms. Smoke spiraled upward from the scented candles on each corner of the mat he lay on, as if the sickness would drift away with the rising columns.
The young boy’s right leg lay at an odd angle, just below the knee. A simple splint of bamboo, secured with long grass, had lost its effectiveness as it began to unravel.
Marta insisted on evacuating the pitiful boy by air, to a facility where he could be properly treated. She couldn’t understand why Mewpa refused. His stubborn pride would not yield to pure logic. She could tell the patient was very sick and probably close to death. No amount of pleading could stir the consciousness of the elders, or even the family members. Nobody, not even the converts, would ever cross the will of one of the most powerful men in the village.
“Look, I know you mean well, but sometimes you have to go to other sources of help. He is going to get sicker. He needs medicine, and his leg needs to be fixed,” Marta begged.
“There is nothing more powerful than my medicine. I will heal his sickness, then we will fix his leg,” Mewpa replied, unfazed.
John and Sandy entered the hut as Numah and Tucker fearfully withdrew. Marta, having fought long and hard on behalf of the boy’s welfare, fell into the waiting arms of Sandy, and let herself sob with frustration. “We’ve got to do something, Sandy. He won’t even listen.”
“We’ll do something. Don’t worry,” Sandy replied.
John kicked at the dust and pretended to look at something on the ground.
“I’m sorry, John, I didn’t mean to lose control in front of you. I’m just frustrated,” said Marta.
Marta saw the witch doctor snicker, then continue with a professional but I-know-what-I’m-doing, and-you’re-too-simple-to-¬recognize-greatness attitude.
“Don’t worry, Marta, I understand what you have been through. I’ve been through less frustrating situations, but didn’t handle them nearly as well as you are this one. At least the doctor is still standing.” Sandy laughed.
“Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t ruled out violence.” Marta allowed a chuckled.
Jeffrey W. Bennett is an author and owner of Red Bike Publishing. Jeff is an accomplished writer of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. He also owns Red bike Publishing. Published books include: "Get Rich in a Niche-Insider's Guide to Self Publishing in a Specialized Industry" and "Commitment-A Novel". Jeff is an expert in security and has written many security books including: "Insider's Guide to Security Clearances" and "DoD Security Clearances and Contracts Guidebook". See Red Bike Publishing for print copies of: Army Leadership The Ranger Handbook The Army Physical Readiness Manual Drill and Ceremonies The ITAR The NISPOM