Study Guide

Out of Africa Part 2, Chapter 3

By Isak Dinesen

Part 2, Chapter 3

Wamai

  • The narrator goes to the Kyama with Farah, her interpreter. She is sad to think that Kaninu will be made to pay for his son's mistake, because he has also lost a son. Also, he's one of the richest squatters on the farm, so he's ripe for the picking. Jogona, on the other hand, the father of Wamai, the dead boy, is very poor.
  • The old men start talking about very specific particulars about what the price will be depending on Wanyangerri's condition when he gets home from the hospital, if he indeed comes home. But Farah and the narrator tell them to get on with it.
  • A witness, Mauge, tells how his own son, whose ear was blown off in the accident, witnessed Kabero pointing the gun at all the children and killing Wamai.
  • The narrator says that it was an accident, and that because Kaninu's son fired the gun he will have to pay Jogona some sheep. However, it won't be as many as if he had murdered him on purpose.
  • Farah insists that the Kikuyu name a price, which makes them uncomfortable, and so Farah suggests a hundred sheep. It is way too much, and then Farah changes to forty, which gets people talking.
  • Another rich squatter named Kathegu decides that he will handpick the livestock to be given, which is probably some sort of a scam, but the narrator protects Kaninu from this injustice.
  • So the assembly decides on a forty-sheep price—but, hold up, there's a twist. Some people from another town show up claiming that the dead boy, Wamai, is not Jogona's son but rather their nephew, so they want the sheep.
  • Jogona asks the narrator to help him write down his side of the story and his relationship to Wamai so he can take it into the District Commissioner, and she does. It turns out that Jogona owed Wamai's dying father money and promised to take over his friend's wife and child, which he did.
  • The statement does the trick and the D.C. dismisses the Nyeri people's appeal, leaving Jogona with his forty sheep.
  • Afterward, he carries the report around with him all the time and sometimes stops the narrator to have her read it to him.