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“It is iba,” said Okonkwo as he took his machete and went into the bush to collect the leaves and grasses and barks of tree that went into making the medicine for iba. (9.7)
The earth provides ways for humans to combat disease. This furthers the idea that sickness is an abomination to the earth.
The priestess’ voice was already growing faint in the distance. Ekwefi hurried to the main footpath and turned left in the direction of the voice. Her eyes were useless to her in the darkness. But she picked her way easily on the sandy footpath hedged on either side by branches and damp leaves. She began to run, holding her breasts with her hands to stop them flapping noisily against her body. She hit her left foot against an outcropped root, and terror seized her. It was an ill omen. She ran faster…Although the night was cool, Ekwefi was beginning to feel hot from her running. She continually ran into the luxuriant weeds and creepers that walled in the path. Once she tripped up and fell. (11.52)
The wilderness seems to be working against Ekwefi, keeping her from reaching her abducted daughter, blinding her to the path, and inspiring fear in her.
As soon as the day broke, a large crowd of men from Ezeudu’s quarter stormed Okonkwo’s compound, dressed in garbs of war. They set fire to his houses, demolished his red walls, killed his animals and destroyed his barn. It was the justice of the earth goddess, and they were merely her messengers. They had no hatred in their hearts again Okonkwo. His greatest friend, Obierika, was among them. They were merely cleansing the land which Okonkwo had polluted with the blood of a clansman. (13.15)
The Umuofia believe that killing a brother clansman is a sin against the earth – the provider of life, the matchless nurturer of life, and the ultimate mother. The village believes that the earth will turn against them if the sin isn’t atoned for.