I am going to discuss the differences in two stories. Both stories are about diverse cultures and traditions. The first story is called ‘Veronica’ and the second is called ‘Looking For a Rain God’. Veronica is about a young girl called Veronica with the responsibility of bringing up her family. Her mother was very weak and her father was a brute. She had to help them and bring up all the other children. Her friend, Okeke, helped her from time to time, but there was little that he could do. He lived near Veronica but his parents weren’t brutes nor were they weak.
They had a very strong friendly relationship and did a ot together. As time passed, still friendly, Okeke left to go to school. They met occasionally and were always pleased to see each other. After five years or so Okeke won a scholarship to the University. He left her for good this time. As Okeke is getting an education, Veronica stayed; thinking her meaning in life was with her family and looking after them. Veronica became lonely then after a couple of years a civil war broke out. By this time her parents were dead and her brothers and sisters, now adults had moved away.
She, her husband and her child struggled to survive in the demolished place. Okeke eturned to the village for a month, but only to see Veronica die before him. The ‘Rain God’ is about a family lead to believe that sacrificing their own children would bring rain. They lived in South Africa where the rain had not fallen for seven years, leaving the lands very dry and families with out food. The story is about desperate people in desperate circumstances, looking to find an answer to their problems. Again the story is about struggle and survival.
The Botswana drought was so bad that the family played part in a sacrificial murder. They sacrificed their own children. The attempt failed and two men got the eath sentence. In the opening paragraphs of each story the writers emphasise different aspects of village life. In ‘Veronica’, although village life was not great, it was far superior to that of ‘Looking For a Rain God’. None of these villages have leisure facilities like Cinema’s, etc. They even think that water is a luxury to have in the radius of one hundred metres from their house.
In Botswana the only jobs were things like agriculture. They had lands that were only just walking distance. Where as in ‘Veronica’ the village has water very near to the houses. The stream ran close and their wasn’t a rush to get the water. The lands were also very near. Another difference in these two cultures is in education. In ‘Rain God’, there aren’t any direct sources to how, or more likely if, people got an education. In the story of Veronica, Okeke is given the chance to be educated and takes the opportunity. Veronica, quite sadly, didn’t. Veronica’ is also more of a modern village.
There isn’t any technology in any village but the village where Veronica lives isn’t very far from a big city, with money, big building and cars. Botswana, if near to other villages is probably identical in wealth and technology. They both use wood to heat things and have to etch water regularly to wash and drink. ‘Fetch water from the stream and occasionally chopped firewood. ‘ Families are a strong subject and are important in both stories. Evidence of this in ‘Veronica’ is shown quite a few times.
Veronica lived with her family and instead of getting an education and getting a good life she said ‘my own place is here. ‘ She said that to Okeke when he asked her why she didn’t get an education. This shows that her relationship with her family was very solid and strong. Although her father was vicious and a brute she felt it was her responsibility to look after everybody. She feels the family needs her and gives up what could have been a better life. ‘They are my family, that is good enough. ‘ She says that she should stay for the reason that they are her family, that is a good enough reason to stay. I can’t just leave my family. ‘
The story is similar in ‘Looking for a Rain God’ through the toughest of times in the seven-year drought the family stayed together. The parents worried and the children played. When the children made dolls out of sticks representing their mother they made her say things like ‘You stupid thing! When I send you to draw water, why do you spill alf of it out of the bucket? ‘ The mother says this to the children. I feel that although these are negative words it represents a good relationship between the children and the mother.
Firstly, as in ‘Veronica’ the children are helping out not minding. Secondly, the children wouldn’t want to be rude, mimicking their mother. They must think it’s a way of life and they love their mum enough to make dolls imitating her. The father has a good relationship with his son Ramadi, when he thinks of an idea to make the rainfall, he tells his son first as if they are best friends. I think in this story the boys idolise their fathers and he girls idolise their mothers. In both cultures there is suffering and struggle for survival.
This is emphasised in ‘Looking For a Rain God’. The air was so dry and moisture-free that it burned the skin. ‘ This illustrates bad suffering in Botswana by the people. ‘No one knew what to do to escape the heat and tragedy was in the air. ‘ This shows the struggle to survive. This is similar to the story ‘Veronica’. The struggle is not with the weather but with poverty. ‘Her family had been even poorer than mine, which was saying something in those days. ‘ In ‘Veronica’ the struggle and survival mainly comes from the war. It turned the village into a diseased and generally horrible place to live in. ‘ I was shocked by what I found.
Either I had forgotten about the squalor of village life or it had worsened during my absence. The place was crawling with disease and everybody was living- surviving, rather- in acute poverty. ‘ Veronica struggled to survive in the dreadful conditions but managed to raise her brothers and sisters. She gave up the struggle to survive after the war when things were too bad for her and her baby. In ‘Looking for a Rain God’ although what they needed was reachable, water, Land, crops, they were a long journey away. The town where Veronica lives takes this for granted having nearby streams and lands.
This struggle is one less for Veronica but people in Botswana think that it is just the way of life. The struggle to survive in Botswana started in 1958 when a seven-year drought fell upon the land. People committed suicide and some paid charlatans, incanters and witch doctors for herbs to rub on their plough. ‘The family sat down in despair, waiting and waiting. ‘ In the end the struggle was too much. Mokgobja decided that in order to survive he should kill his own two daughters in a ritual sacrifice. He did this but wasn’t rewarded with ain, but with life imprisonment.
Both stories have traditions resulting in the story’s outcomes. In ‘Veronica’, Veronica feels that her place is in the village. She might be following the family tradition where the family must stay together or the eldest child must take charge of the younger siblings. This is similar to the rain god story where the family stays together. ‘Veronica’ is much about the unchanging life of the girl called Veronica. She always lived in the same place and did the same things. She gives up hope of everything when she grows up. ‘Looking for Rain god’ emphasises suffering and impatience whereas Veronica accepts her ate.
Mokgobja tries to change fate but in doing so ends up in a worse predicament. In the story about the rain god one tradition is the land and agriculture. They are so bound to the land for their livelihood, that if the land perishes so do they. Both writers show the influence of modern society on traditional village life. This is shown in Veronica with Okeke going away to the village and coming back an educated man. He goes to the town and witnesses’ technology and business’s and he sees a rapid change of pace of life. When he returns home, both the dirtiness and poverty maze him, in his village.
Technology is present in this story with the flash cars, expensive gadgets and big buildings. Technology is not a feature in ‘Looking for a rain god’ but police are present which is a new situation. My conclusion is that you should do what you believe to be right. I don’t believe in sacrifice, I think that it is wrong to take somebody’s life. I would find water another way. If I was Veronica, I would act differently. I would want to look after my family but when my responsibilities ended I would go looking for education, moving into the city to find a better lifestyle.