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Script .1

Notes to broadcasters

Save and edit the full 5-part drama. (Word document, 300 KB)

Beans, a family affair is a five-episode drama about a group of women who persevere against difficulties to achieve success. The women belong to a village savings or vicoba group in Tanzania, and all of them grow common beans. Women do most of the field work for common beans. But, because of the traditional gender roles in their community, men make all the post-harvest decisions, including selling the beans and controlling the income.

A few of the major female characters in the drama, including Farida and Mama Mjuni, take the lead on this endeavour. They encourage the women to work together on their farms, and finally to grow beans together to market as a group to the village bean factory.

The drama takes place against a backdrop of dramatic situations, including conflicts between women and men: domestic abuse in one family, and the underhanded efforts of a village womanizer to both manipulate women and profit from criminal activities.

There are light, funny moments in the drama too, though it covers serious themes. If you produce the drama with a local group, ensure that the more serious moments are balanced with the lighter scenes of friends reminiscing and laughing.

Each of the five episodes is approximately 20-25 minutes long, including intro and extro music. Because the episodes are long, you might want to air only two or three scenes at a time in your program. In most cases, two or three episodes take 6-8 minutes.

You could follow up the drama with a call-in program that discusses some of the issues raised in the program, inviting male and female experts on the issues. Discussions could include:

  • how the community divides the work involved in growing and marketing common beans, or other crops grown in your area, and how this might be biased against women’s interests, and may even hurt the family;
  • domestic abuse and the culture or habit of silence that allows it to continue; and
  • the kinds of support men can offer women who are struggling to help themselves and their families in difficult situations.

Main characters

Farida: Women in late 20s.

Farida is a housewife who does all the domestic tasks in her household, including cooking and cleaning for her husband and her three girls. Farida is also responsible for the labour-intensive aspects of farming on her family’s small, one-acre plot with no help from her husband, who makes all the post-harvest decisions about their crops, including selling.

She is married to the police chief of the village, Afande Kaifa, with whom she has three beautiful little girls Sifa (10), Zuhura (8), and Hafsa (3).

Farida had Sifa she was still at secondary school and was forced to drop out of school and marry her husband. Every now and then, she wishes she had finished school.

Farida has endured years of physical abuse from her husband, though he is careful not to injure her in visible ways. Mostly because of his own insecurities, her husband has held a grudge against her for not bearing him any boys. He expects Farida to be a submissive housewife, but she has a mind of her own. She likes to listen to taarab music in her free time.

Farida is a very energetic woman with many great ideas for herself and her family, but constraints from her chauvinistic husband have constantly held her back.

Farida cultivates common beans, which her husband sells in different village markets. Farida’s decision-making in the household is limited to deciding what they eat in the house.

Besides cultivating beans, she also grows some crops on the side for family consumption.

Farida and her husband own some animals, and Farida mixes their manure with other ingredients to sell as fertilizer, and also buys chickens and sells their eggs. She is good with money, business, and investments.
The only time Farida feels important, liberated, and worthy is when she is spending time with her kids or when she is with the other women at the women’s group-saving association. She is the treasurer for the group.

Farida’s best friend is Jenny, but she is also very close to Stella, an old friend of hers and Jenny’s who has recently moved back to the village from the city. She is also close to the chairwoman of the women’s group, Mama Mjuni.

Afanda Kaifa: 42-year-old man, police chief of the village, married to Farida.

He has developed a strong image for himself in the village. To many, he is a very charming and helpful individual, and a diligent and a reliable police officer. But behind closed doors, he has abused his wife for years.

He grew up in a household with a meek mother and a domineering father who was also the village police chief. He has followed in his father’s footsteps and looks up to his father.

He is insecure due to his seeming inability to father any boys, and his father’s disapproving attitude towards that doesn’t help. As a result, he has treated his wife and daughters unfairly over the years. He hopes to have a baby boy one day who will be the heir to all his possessions and follow in his footsteps just as he followed in his father’s footsteps.

Afanda Kaifa is overbearing and possessive, and his jealousy over Farida is well-known in the village.

Jenny: Married woman in her early 30s.
She has been married to Vumi for a couple of years. Jenny is unable to have children of her own, which is the reason her first marriage ended in divorce.

Jenny owns a motor vehicle garage that she inherited from her deceased father. She is a very hard-working woman who has developed a sharp business sense, and employs several men. She is very good with cars and, as a result, is perceived differently from other women by the people in the village, who generally feel that a woman’s place is in the kitchen doing domestic chores or in the farm doing fieldwork.
Despite always being busy at the garage, Jenny finds time to help with the fieldwork on her farm, though she entrusts her husband to look for markets for their crops. Jenny is also a member of the women’s group-saving association.

She had to endure years of mistreatment and criticism from her in-laws, especially her mother-in-law, because of her inability to have children, in spite being the breadwinner in her household.
Jenny does not have many friends in the village, but she is very close to Farida, and was school friends with Stella. To a certain extent, she can relate to Farida’s situation of not being able to have any boys, because of her own inability to have children.
Jenny and Farida are very close although they are completely different. In a way, Jenny wants what Farida has—children—and Farida wants what Jenny has—financial independence.

Grace: 19-year-old daughter of Mama K.

Grace is a very smart girl with her own principles. Her beauty precedes her in the village; in fact, it is somewhat of a topic of discussion amongst men.

Two years ago, Grace completed her O-level secondary education and wishes to proceed with her A-level studies, although her mother is not very supportive of her education.

Grace is not her mother’s favourite child, although she is the one who helps with the chores and with caring for her twin younger brothers, Alex and Adam, who have been spoiled by their mother.
Grace is a hard worker: she cultivate beans and other produce in a small plot of land in the backyard of the family house. Her mother and young brothers don’t pay much attention to her farming activities, though she feeds the house with some of her produce and sells the surplus at the market.

She helps at her mother’s local bar from time to time, to the enjoyment of the drunkards who flock to the bar.

Grace is a member of the women’s group-saving association, and is good friends with Doris. She used to be very good friends with Mjuni before he changed his ways.

Mama Mjuni: Woman in her late 40s, wife of district councilman of the village, Mzee Ali.

Her marriage is a thing of envy to most women in the village since she is the only woman who makes farming decisions collectively with her husband, from crop inputs to cultivation to harvesting and selling the produce. Her husband also contributes to household chores and farming duties in the fields. For a long time, it has been a subject of speculation among the villagers that Mama Mjuni has bewitched her husband and holds him under a spell.

Mama Mjuni is a very forward-thinking kind of woman. She is the one who started the women’s group-saving association and is the chairwoman.

She has one child from a previous marriage, a teenaged son named Mjuni. She is deeply troubled by Mjuni’s tendency to run with the wrong crowd. She does not have any children with Mzee Ali.

Mzee Ali: district councilman of the village in early 60s. Husband of Mama Mjuni and stepfather of Mjuni.

Although Mjuni is his stepchild, Mzee Ali cares for him and loves him as if he was his own son.

Mzee Ali believes in equality of decision-making between husband and wife. It is normal to find him in the fields with his wife during the tilling season or to find him in the house washing dishes while his wife cleans the house.

Mzee Ali’s character has been a subject of ridicule for some villagers who believe his wife wears the pants in his family and that he has been bewitched.

Sigi: Owner of a wholesale company and warehouse, in his 40s.

Sigi’s company is the main supplier of common beans to the Tikka factory. He is a cutthroat businessman who cares about nothing but money; he is the type to sell his own mother for a little cash.
Besides his wholesale business, he operates illegitimate dealings from his old warehouse. He uses Adam and Alex for his dirty work and shady businesses.

He is very promiscuous, loves the company of beautiful women, and is known to lavish them with gifts.

He also loves a good drink and frequents Mama K’s bar with a crowd of his followers and henchmen.

Stella: Childhood friend of Jenny and Farida in her early 30s.
After getting good grades in her secondary education, she went to university in the city.

She lived and worked in the city for a couple of years after university, and then, after returning to the village, got a job at the factory overseeing the supply of common beans.

Mama K: In her 50s. Mother of Grace and the two local thugs, Adam and Alex.

Mama K is the owner of the famous local bar that goes by her name, Mama K. The bar is a hangout for the many drunkards in the village.
Mama K has a drinking problem herself, and becomes obnoxious and belligerent when she drinks, especially towards Grace, whom she has treated unfairly over the years due to her belief that Grace is the reason her first husband walked out on her. Mama K raised Grace and the two boys by herself and favours the two boys in spite of the fact that they are always getting in trouble.

Adam and Alex: Mama K’s twin boys, aged 17.

The two boys are inseparable, always hanging together. They formed a “crew” and came up with a name for it: viroboto (fleas), which is a very fitting name since they are always looking to steal something and cause havoc.

They are spoiled rotten and know they can always depend on their mother to bail them out if they get in trouble.

They don’t go to school, but spend most of their time smoking reefer and looking for their next score. The village is tired of their petty crimes and theft.

Mjuni:
Sixteen-year-old son of Mama Mjuni and stepson of the district councilman, Mzee Ali.

He is a troubled boy who rebels against his parents. His behaviour causes great pain to his parents, especially his mother. He likes to hang out with Adam and Alex, and skips school and gets in trouble, despite numerous warnings from his parents.

Mjuni was close friends with Grace before changing his ways.

Doris: Twenty-year-old woman and member of the women’s vicoba group.

Doris is a girl who likes good things in life, but doesn’t like to work hard for them. She would rather be with a rich man who can provide her needs. She is a somewhat of a spoiled brat, and becomes one of Sigi’s many women.

She fancies herself as smart, but is easily manipulated by Sigi. She is friends with Grace.

Script

1.
Scene 1
2. Location:
Ext. Road. Morning.
3. BG SFX:
Sound of car engine and music inside car.
4. Characters:
Jenny, Mr. Patel, boy.

5. SFX:
SOUND OF CAR ENGINE AND MUSIC INSIDE CAR.
6. SFX:
MR. PATEL HUMMING ALONG TO MUSIC.
7. SFX:
CAR MAKES A BLASTING SOUND.
8. MR PATEL:
(ALARMED) Uh oh! What is it now?
9. SFX:
CAR COMES TO A SUDDEN, SCREECHING HALT.
10. MR PATEL:
(ANGRILY TALKING TO HIMSELF) I’m so sick of this car! Everyday it’s the same story.
11. SFX:
MR. PATEL TRIES TO RESTART THE ENGINE.
12. SFX:
CAR ENGINE STARTS THEN STOPS.
13. SFX:
MR. PATEL GETS OUT OF CAR THEN SLAMS DOOR.
14. MR PATEL:
(ANGRILY TALKING TO HIMSELF) I thought I was very clear when I told them to service the car every month and check for problems! But nooo!
15. SFX:
MR. PATEL TRIES TO CHECK THE ENGINE.
16. MR. PATEL:
I don’t even know what I’m paying these guys for?! Just a bunch of lazy …
17. SFX:
MR. PATEL GETS AN ELECTRICAL SHOCK FROM THE CAR ENGINE.
18. MR. PATEL:
(CRYING IN PAIN) Aaargh!
19. BOY:
(APPROACHING MIC) Hey Mister, are you okay?
20. MR PATEL:
(IN PAIN) Go and find me a car mechanic, quick!
21. BOY:
Okay, I will be right back.
22. SFX:
MR. PATEL GROANING IN PAIN.
23. BOY:
(APPROACHING THE MIC, RUNNING) Here he is.
24. JENNY:
Hey Mister, are you okay?
25. MR. PATEL:
(STILL DAZED) Yes, I’m fine.
26. JENNY:
Let me help you to your feet.
27. MR. PATEL:
It’s okay; I can manage. (TO BOY) I thought I told you to bring me a car mechanic.
28. BOY:
But she is.
29. JENNY:
I am a car mechanic.
30. MR. PATEL:
(SURPRISED AND AWKWARD) Oh!
31. JENNY:
So can I go on and have a look at the car?
32. MR. PATEL:
(SPEECHLESS) Well … well …
33. JENNY:
(INTERRUPTS) Look, sir, if you think it will help, I can get one of the men from the garage to come and work on your car.
34. MR. PATEL:
That’s not what I was …. You can go on and work on the car.
35. SFX:
JENNY STARTS WORKING ON THE CAR.
36. MR. PATEL:
I’m sorry, but it’s just that I’ve never met a woman car mechanic before, especially in this village.
37. JENNY:
It’s okay. It’s not the first time. I’ve heard that before.
38. MR. PATEL:
So how long have you been a car mechanic?
39. JENNY:
(LAUGHS) Mister, if it’s my experience with cars that you want to know about, don’t worry. I’ve been working on cars since I was 15.
40. MR. PATEL:
How come?
41. JENNY:
My father owned a garage and he is the one who taught me all about cars. Can you please hand me that spanner over there?
42. MR. PATEL:
(HANDS HER THE SPANNER) Here you go.
43. JENNY:
Thank you.
44. MR. PATEL:
So do you work for your father now?
45. JENNY:
No. Unfortunately, he passed away.
46. MR. PATEL:
Sorry to hear that.
47. JENNY:
It’s okay; many years have passed now.
48. MR. PATEL:
So who do you work for now?
49. JENNY:
I don’t work for anybody. I’m the boss. I just hired a couple of people.
50. SFX:
MR. PATEL STARTS LAUGHING.
51. JENNY:
What is so funny?
52. MR. PATEL:
It’s just that I’ve never came across a lady like you in this village. You surprise me. Not only are you a car mechanic, but you own a garage and employ people.
53. JENNY:
After my father passed, I had to keep on working. I inherited the car garage and just kept going. (PAUSE) Can you start the engine?
54. MR PATEL:
Oh! Okay!
55. SFX:
MR PATEL STARTS THE ENGINE AND THE CAR STARTS RUNNING.
56. MR. PATEL:
You surprised me again!
57. JENNY:
I’m glad I can be of service to you.
58. MR. PATEL:
So how much will that be? (HANDS JENNY MONEY) Here—take this.
59. JENNY:
Sir, I’m afraid this is too much money.
60. MR. PATEL:
Don’t worry, that’s for saving my day. Maybe one day you will come and work for the factory, fixing our vehicles.
61. JENNY:
I’d rather you give that contract to my garage.
62. MR. PATEL:
(LAUGHS) Not only are you a good car mechanic, but you are also a shrewd businesswoman, Miss …
63. JENNY:
Jenny… my name is Jenny.
64. MR. PATEL:
Well, you saved my day. Jenny. My name is Mr. Patel, and I’m the manager of the Tikka common beans factory.
65. JENNY:
Well, I would like to welcome you to Jenny’s garage anytime you encounter a problem.
66. MR. PATEL:
Thank you very much. See you around and have a nice day.
67. JENNY:
Likewise, Mister.
68. SFX:
MR. PATEL GETS IN HIS CAR AND DRIVES OFF.
69. CONTROL:
Jenny

 

70.
Scene 2
71. Location:
Int. Hospital. Morning.
72. BG SFX:
Busy bustling sounds of hospital, babies crying.
73. Characters:
Farida, Mama Mjuni, Doctor, Nurse.

74. SFX:
WAILS OF A BABY.
75. NURSE:
(NEAR MIC) Farida Kaifa! Is Farida Kaifa around?
76. FARIDA:
(FAR FROM MIC) Yees!
77. NURSE:
Farida Kaifa!
78. FARIDA:
(APROACHING MIC) Here I am.
79. NURSE:
Okay, the doctor is ready to see you now.
80. SFX:
DOOR OPENS AND FARIDA ENTERS.
81. DOCTOR:
(NEAR MIC) Please come in and sit down.
82. FARIDA:
(APPROACHING MIC) Thank you.
83. SFX:
FARIDA PULLS UP CHAIR AND SITS DOWN.
84. DOCTOR:
(PERUSING FILES) Your name is Farida Kaifa and you are 28 years old. So tell me, what seems to be the problem?
85. FARIDA:
It’s just that I’ve been experiencing pain.
86. DOCTOR:
Where in your body have you been experiencing the pain?
87. SFX:
FARIDA CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY.
88. DOCTOR:
(SHORT LAUGH) Listen, my good madam, I’m sure whatever you are going through now, I have seen it before. So I assure you there is no need to be scared.
89. FARIDA:
Can you prescribe me some painkillers?
90. DOCTOR:
I cannot prescribe medicines without first examining you to know what is wrong. It is just standard procedure.
91. SFX:
FARIDA GOES QUIET.
92. DOCTOR:
Madam, can you come and sit here on this bed?
93. SFX:
FARIDA GETS UP AND SITS ON THE BED.
94. DOCTOR:
Okay, can you show me where you experience the pain?
95. FARIDA:
It is right here and here.
96. DOCTOR:
Okay … so in the thighs and stomach.
97. FARIDA:
Yes.
98. DOCTOR:
Okay, so please remove the veil so I can see.
99. SFX:
FARIDA IS HESITANT.
100. DOCTOR:
(REASSURING) Don’t worry.
101. SFX:
FARIDA REMOVES HER VEIL.
102. DOCTOR:
(IN SHOCK) Heeh! What happened to you? Were you mugged?
103. FARIDA:
(IN A LOW TONE) Yes.
104. DOCTOR:
Did you file a police report?
105. FARIDA:
(ABRUPTLY) Listen, doctor, I wasn’t mugged.
106. DOCTOR:
Then what happened to you? Who did this to you?
107. SFX:
FARIDA GOES QUIET AGAIN
108. DOCTOR:
Listen, lady, you have to report this to the police; this is serious. Your injuries are very serious.
109. FARIDA:
But it’s okay; I’m fine now.
110. DOCTOR:
I have seen cases like this before. Many women like you come here—battered and scared to talk. If you allow me, I will help you file the police report.
111. FARIDA:
(ANGRILY) Doctor, I came here to seek medical attention and not legal action.
112. DOCTOR:
(SIGHS) If you say so. Ok, I will prescribe some painkillers for you and a tetanus shot for those cuts.
113. FARIDA:
Thank you, doctor.
114.
FADE OUT.
115.
FADE IN.
116. MAMA MJUNI:
(FAR FROM MIC) Hey, Farida! Farida!
117. FARIDA:
(NEAR MIC) Hey, Mama Mjuni.
118. MAMA MJUNI:
(APPROACHING MIC) I thought it was you. What are you doing here? Are you sick?
119. FARIDA:
I just have a little case of malaria.
120. MAMA MJUNI:
Oh, so sorry to hear that—must be that time of the year.
121. FARIDA:
Thank you. And you—what brings you here?
122. MAMA MJUNI:
I haven’t been feeling well. Started thinking that Mzee Ali got me pregnant (LAUGHS HYSTERICALLY)— at this age?! I must be dreaming.
123. SFX:
FARIDA GIVES A WEAK LAUGH.
124. MAMA MJUNI:
Farida, are you okay? Is something bothering you?
125. FARIDA:
No, it’s just the malaria. I don’t feel too good. I have to go. I will see you later at the vicoba meeting. Bye.
126. MAMA MJUNI:
Farida, wait …
127. SFX:
FARIDA LEAVES QUICKLY.
128. CONTROL:
Farida.

 

129. Scene 3

130. Location:
Ext. Mama K’s home. Mid-morning.
131. BG SFX:
Sound of Grace winnowing beans.
132. Characters:
Grace, Doris.

133. SFX:
SOUND OF WINNOWING BEANS.
134. SFX:
GRACE STARTS SINGING AS SHE WINNOWS BEANS.
135. DORIS:
(APPROACHING MIC) Grace, what are you doing? I thought you would be ready to leave by now.
136. GRACE:
(SARCASTICALLY) I’m fine; thank you very much for asking me how I’m doing.
137. DORIS:
Enough with your jokes already. You know if you carry on like this, we will be late for our appointment with Sigi.
138. GRACE:
You know very well that I can’t leave without preparing something for my mother and my young brothers. If they come home and there is no food, the whole village will know I didn’t cook.
139. DORIS:
Aren’t your brothers old enough to cook for themselves?
140. GRACE:
Adam and Alex cook?! (LAUGHS) That will be the day.
141. DORIS:
(IMPATIENTLY) But you know we don’t have time to cook and make it there on time?
142. GRACE:
Heeh! Madam, take it easy. And I thought we were going for a business meeting and not to some nightclub!
143. DORIS:
(PRETENTIOUS LAUGH) You like my new dress?
144. GRACE:
Oh! It’s very beautiful indeed.
145. DORIS:
What about the shoes?
146. GRACE:
They look expensive too.
147. DORIS:
(GIGGLES) You know I had to bring out my best stuff. You have to dress to impress, especially when meeting a man of Sigi’s status in the village.
148. SFX:
GRACE SIGHS.
149. DORIS:
What now?
150. GRACE:
Nothing. Just be careful. I have heard enough stories about Sigi’s ways in the village.
151. DORIS:
And what stories would those be?
152. GRACE:
That he is basically a womanizer and all he does is hop on and off different women in the village like they are motorcycles.
153. DORIS:
Aaargh! You know how people in the village are. All they are good for is gossiping about other people.
154. GRACE:
You know the Swahili saying: “What’s talked about is usually not far off.”
155. DORIS:
People are just jealous because Sigi is the main supplier of common beans to the factory.
156. GRACE:
(SIGHS AND CHANGES SUBJECT) … I don’t know about that, but I’m sure jealous of those high heels. I can’t stop looking at them.
157. DORIS:
(SQUEAKY LAUGH) You love them, eeh? If you only knew! I paid a fortune for them.
158. GRACE:
I can tell just by looking at them. I hope you are still saving up so that we can buy the cow for the dairy business.
159. DORIS:
Don’t you worry about that, Grace; I’m still>saving up.
160. GRACE:
Hmm! I doubt it.
161. DORIS:
Grace, we are already late for our appointment and we are still talking! Let’s leave.
162. GRACE:
Okay, but we shouldn’t stay too long. I have to come back to cook.
163. CONTROL:
Grace

 

164. Scene 4

165. Location:
Ext. Sigi’s warehouse. Day.
166. BG SFX:
Warehouse ambience.
167. Characters:
Grace, Doris, Sigi, Widow, Mudi.

168. WIDOW:
(PLEADING WITH SIGI AS SHE GETS DOWN ON HER KNEES) Please, my son, I really need the money. Please, I’m begging you; I’m down on my knees.
169. SIGI:
Mama, I already told you that you will get paid for your common beans once I’m paid by the factory. Why can’t you understand?
170. WIDOW:
You must know that I’m a widow. My husband passed away.
171. SIGI:
Well, may your husband rest in eternal peace, mama. But what does that have to do with me?
172. WIDOW:
How am I going to feed my children with no money? Huh? Tell me—how am I going to pay the light bills?
173. SIGI:
I don’t know. All I know is we made the agreement that I will pay you your money after I get the payment from the factory.
174. WIDOW:
I know we did. But please, my son, do me this one favour, huh?
175. SIGI:
I’m sorry but there is nothing I can do. Business is business. Mudi, please take her away.
176. MUDI:
Come on, let’s go, mama.
177. SFX:
MUDI TAKES THE WIDOW AWAY.
178. SFX:
WOMAN PLEADING.
179. GRACE:
(COMPLAINING) Heeey! There is no need for that!
180. SIGI:
(APPROACHING GRACE AND DORIS) Hey, I’m sorry that you had to see that, but some people don’t know how business goes.
181. DORIS:
It’s okay.
182. SIGI:
Sorry, but what did you say your name was?
183. DORIS:
My name is Doris and her name is Grace.
184. SIGI:
I know her; I always see her at mama k’s bar. You are mama K’s girl, right?
185. GRACE:
Yes. Sorry, but can you excuse me and my friend for a short moment?
186. SIGI:
It’s okay; just take your time.
187. SFX:
GRACE PULLS DORIS ASIDE.
188. DORIS:
(IN A LOW TONE) What’s wrong?
189. GRACE:
(IN A LOW TONE) I just don’t have a good feeling about this.
190. DORIS:
About what?
191. GRACE:
Doing business with him!
192. DORIS:
Don’t tell me you are having a change of heart. Listen—with Sigi we will get a good business deal.
193. GRACE:
But what if we end up like that old lady who was dragged out?
194. DORIS:
You know that won’t happen to us.
195. GRACE:
Oh yeah? How can you be sure? Surely we can get other buyers to buy our common beans.
196. DORIS:
Listen—Sigi is the one who has the most money in the village. Almost everybody sells their common beans to him.
197. GRACE:
Then why couldn’t he pay that woman?
198. DORIS:
I don’t know; she probably couldn’t honour their business arrangement. Listen: get yourself together and let’s go back to talk to him.
199. SFX:
DORIS AND GRACE GO BACK TO TALK TO SIGI.
200. DORIS:
(LAUGHS AS IF FLIRTING) We are back.
201. SIGI:
Yes. So where were we?
202. DORIS:
We were just about to propose a business deal for you.
203. SIGI:
Okay, you can step into my office for that.
204. SFX:
GRACE AND DORIS START ENTERING SIGI’S OFFICE.
205. SIGI:
Sorry, but I can only let one of you into my office to discuss the business.
206. GRACE:
(LAUGHS) Why? Is there not enough space in there?
207. SIGI:
No.
208. GRACE:
You are joking—right?
209. SIGI:
No, I’m actually serious.
210. GRACE:
But this doesn’t make any sense. We came here together to discuss the business with you. So how can you allow only one person into your office?
211. SIGI:
I’m afraid that is how it works. My place of business: my rules.
212. GRACE:
I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous; I won’t go into the office without Doris.
213. SIGI:
Then I’m afraid the business deal is off.
214. GRACE:
Okay, then that is good. (TURNS TO DORIS) Let’s go, Doris.
215. DORIS:
It’s okay; I will go into the office with Sigi.
216. GRACE:
(SURPRISED) Doris, are you serious? Excuse us.
217. SFX:
GRACE PULLS DORIS ASIDE.
218. GRACE:
(LOW TONE UNTIL THE END OF THE SCENE) What are you thinking?
219. DORIS:
Well, we came all this way, didn’t we? We can’t let our business deal die just like that. I didn’t get dressed up for nothing!
220. GRACE:
We can always get a deal from someone else.
221. DORIS:
I’m telling you we won’t get a better deal elsewhere.
222. GRACE:
Well, I don’t think it is a good idea.
223. DORIS:
Suit yourself, but I’m going in there.
224. GRACE:
Doris, please don’t lose your dignity just because of mere common beans.
225. DORIS:
What is that supposed to mean?
226. GRACE:
You are not thinking clearly …
227. DORIS:
Listen, just because you hear rumours in the village doesn’t mean they are true. I’m going in there. So if the villagers want to talk, let them talk all they want.
228. SFX:
DORIS LEAVES GRACE AND ENTERS SIGI’S OFFICE AS GRACE CALLS HER.
229. GRACE:
(LOUDER) Doris! Doris! Doris!
230. CONTROL:
Grace

 

231. Scene 5

232. Location:
District council’s office. Day.
233. BG SFX:
Ambience of district council office.
234. Characters:
Mama Mjuni, Mama K, Lydia, Rehema, Monica, other women.

235. REHEMA:
What about you, my dear? How many sacks of common beans do you think you will bring in this year?
236. LYDIA:
(SIGHS) I don’t know really, but I think it will be worse than last year by the look of things.
237. MONICA:
This year is by the far the worst year I have seen in a long time.
238. MAMA K:
(IN A SLIGHTLY DRUNK TONE) What else is new? Every year is a bad year for you, it seems. (LAUGHS)
239. MONICA:
Mama K, I wasn’t talking to you, so please watch it.
240. REHEMA:
Monica, why are you bothering yourself with her? Can’t you tell she is already drunk?
241. LYDIA:
Eeeh! Mama K—this early in the day?
242. MAMA K:
Aaah, leave me alone. All I want is to get my money and leave. And where is Mama Mjuni and Farida so we can start this meeting already?
243. REHEMA:
Here she comes.
244. MAMA MJUNI:
(APPROACHING MIC) I’m sorry for the delay, my fellow members, but I think we can go ahead and start our meeting now. So how are you all?
245. REHEMA:
Not very good, Mama Mjuni. The harvest this season has been very low.
246. MONICA:
It’s true; I don’t know if I will manage to get more than five or six sacks of common beans this season.
247. MAMA MJUNI:
A lot of people are complaining about the harvest this season. What do you think is the problem?
248. REHEMA:
I don’t know; it could be the lack of rains.
249. LYDIA:
Or maybe the land is not as fertile as it used to be.
250. MAMA K:
(INTERRUPTS) Enough! All I want to know is where Farida is so I can get paid.
251. MAMA MJUNI:
I don’t think Farida will be coming today.
252. MAMA K:
What do you mean? She is the treasurer—she is supposed to be here today since it’s the end of the month.
253. MAMA MJUNI:
I know this is the end of the month, mama K, but I think Farida is sick.
254. MAMA K:
So when it’s time for me to collect my money, all of a sudden the treasurer contracts an unknown mysterious disease?
255. MAMA MJUNI:
No, this is serious. I saw her at the hospital today and she didn’t look good.
256. MAMA K:
(SCOFFS) I knew this would happen.
257. MAMA MJUNI:
What do you mean?
258. MAMA K:
Do you think I’m that stupid? I know this is a plan between you and Farida conspiring to steal my money.
259. LYDIA:
(INTERVENES) Mama K, have a little bit of decency. How can you accuse Mama Mjuni of such things?
260. MAMA K:
Hey, shut up! I wasn’t talking to you.
261. MONICA:
She is drunk; you can’t talk sense into her.
262. REHEMA:
Yes, she came in today reeking of alcohol.
263. SFX:
MAMA MJUNI BRINGS ORDER TO THE MEETING.
264. MAMA MJUNI:
Okay, I will settle this. Mama K., if it will make you feel any better, I will give you my own money. And when Farida gets back, she will repay me.
265. MAMA K:
Yes, that will be better.
266. CONTROL:
Mama K

 

267. Scene 6

268. Location:
Ext. Farida’s house. Afternoon.
269. BG SFX:
Sounds of children playing.
270. Characters:
Farida, Jenny, Sifa, Zuhura.

271. SFX:
SOUNDS OF CHILDREN PLAYING
272. ZUHURA:
(SHOUTS IN EXCITEMENT) Hey look! It’s Aunt Jenny!
273. SFX:
SIFA AND ZUHURA RUSH TO EMBRACE AUNT JENNY.
274. JENNY:
(HAPPILY) Hey guys! How are you doing?
275. SIFA, ZUHURA:
Fine. Shikamoo?
[Editors’ note: shikamoo is the respectful greeting of a younger person to an older person in Swahili, and marahaba is the response from the older person that acknowledges that respect.]
276. JENNY:
Marahabaa! Where is Hafsa?
277. SIFA:
She is sleeping.
278. JENNY:
And why aren’t you sleeping?
279. ZUHURA:
It’s because we are grown-ups.
280. JENNY:
(LAUGHS) Who told you that?
281. SIFA:
Nobody told us; it’s the truth.
282. JENNY:
(LAUGHS) You should sleep like Hafsa so you can grow even more! Okay, I brought you some oranges. (HANDS THEM ORANGES) This is for you.
283. SIFA, ZUHURA:
Thank you.
284. JENNY:
Make sure you give one to Hafsa too. Where is your mother?
285. ZUHURA:
She is back there feeding the goats in the stable, but she told us to tell anyone who asks for her that she is sleeping.
286. JENNY:
(LAUGHS) She told you that, eeh?
287. SFX:
JENNY HEADS TO THE STABLE.
288. JENNY:
(CALLING) Farida! Farida!
289. FARIDA:
(FAR FROM MIC) I’m out here.
290. JENNY:
I can see that you are training your young ones to be little liars, eeh?
291. FARIDA:
(JOKING) I heard you laughing from back there—so that means business must have been good today.
292. JENNY:
(LAUGHS) Business is okay, my dear. But you know what? The strangest thing happened to me today.
293. FARIDA:
What happened?
294. JENNY:
I had an encounter with the manager of that common beans factory.
295. FARIDA:
(SURPRISED) Really? Did he come by the garage?
296. JENNY:
No, I met him by the road—his car broke down.
297. FARIDA:
So did you fix his car? He must have paid you a hefty sum of money.
298. JENNY:
Well, he paid me reasonably well. (LAUGHS) Farida, you should have seen the money he gave me! I got shivers just looking at it. I had to pretend that it was too much, but deep inside I was cheering.
299. SFX:
JENNY AND FARIDA BOTH BREAK DOWN LAUGHING.
300. FARIDA:
You see, I told you that business was good. So since you are loaded today, it’s time you buy the fertilizer for the common beans like you promised.
301. JENNY:
Here we go again. Every time I’m here, you always try to sell me something.
302. FARIDA:
No! A promise is a promise. And I just stored the perfect batch of fertilizer for you. Here it is.
303. SFX:
FARIDA TRIES TO LIFT THE BAG OF FERTILIZER BUT FALLS DOWN CRYING IN PAIN.
304. JENNY:
(WORRIED. MOVES IN TO HELP FARIDA) Farida! Are you okay?
305. FARIDA:
(GROANING IN PAIN) It’s okay; I just slipped.
306. JENNY:
Okay, let me help you up.
307. FARIDA:
No, I’m fine; I can manage.
308. SFX:
JENNY HELPS LIFT FARIDA UP, BUT SHE CRIES IN PAIN AND JENNY NOTICES SOME INJURIES.
309. JENNY:
(CONCERNED) Farida, are these bruises on your arms?
310. FARIDA:
(TRYING TO BRUSH IT OFF) No, it’s nothing.
311. JENNY:
Nothing? What do you mean nothing?
312. FARIDA:
I just slipped and fell in the bathroom.
313. JENNY:
It’s him, isn’t it? He has been hitting you again?
314. SFX:
THERE IS AN AWKWARD SILENCE BETWEEN FARIDA AND JENNY WHEN SUDDENLY SIFA AND ZUHURA COME RUNNING IN FROM THE STABLE. ZUHURA IS CRYING.
315. ZUHURA:
(CRYING AS SHE APPROACHES MIC) Mama! Sifa took the orange that Aunt Jenny gave me.
316. SIFA:
(RAISING HER VOICE) She’s lying! She’s lying! I did not take her orange!
317. FARIDA:
Sifa! Why do you like bothering your little sister, eeh?
318. SIFA:
(IN A SULKY TONE) But I didn’t take her orange. I have my own.
319. FARIDA:
(TRYING TO COMFORT ZUHURA) Stop crying, my child. I will buy another orange, okay?
320. ZUHURA:
Okay.
321. CONTROL:
Farida

 

322. Scene 7

323. Location:
Ext. Mama Mjuni’s house. Late afternoon.</b.
324. BG SFX:
Sound of Mzee Ali picking up beans from the
ground with a shovel.

325. Characters:
Mama Mjuni, Mzee Ali.

326. SFX:
SOUND OF MZEE ALI PICKING UP BEANS FROM THE GROUND WITH A SHOVEL.
327. MZEE ALI:
Hee! You are back so soon? How was it?
328. MAMA MJUNI:
They didn’t find anything wrong with me other than high blood pressure.
329. MZEE ALI:
So that means there is something wrong with you. Here—come and sit down.
330. MAMA MJUNI:
Oh, come on now! Don’t make such a big deal out of nothing. Why are you working by yourself when Mjuni should be helping you?
331. MZEE ALI:
Don’t worry; I don’t mind. It’s good exercise.
332. MAMA MJUNI:
Let me help you then.
333. MZEE ALI:
No no no! You should have a rest. You must have had a long day.
334. MAMA MJUNI:
It is okay. I’m used to long days with the women in the vicoba meetings.
335. MZEE ALI:
How did the meeting go?
336. MAMA MJUNI:
Everything went well until mama K caused a fit in the middle of the meeting.
337. MZEE ALI:
What happened?
338. MAMA MJUNI:
It was her turn to collect the money, but Farida didn’t show up. So she decided to cause a fit.
339. MZEE ALI:
(LAUGHS) I am not surprised about mama K. But why didn’t Farida show up?
340. MAMA MJUNI:
I think she might be sick. I saw her at the hospital today.
341. MZEE ALI:
Did you talk to her?
342. MAMA MJUNI:
Yes, I did, but she was acting a bit strange.
343. MZEE ALI:
What do you mean?
344. MAMA MJUNI:
I don’t know … it’s like she was hiding something. She left quickly before we had a chance to say a proper farewell to each other.
345. MZEE ALI:
Hmm! That’s a bit strange—and very unlike her.
346. MAMA MJUNI:
Yes, that’s why I thought. (ABRUPTLY) Do you think her husband is being physically abusive towards her?
347. MZEE ALI:
(CAUGHT OFF GUARD) I don’t know. You are the one who spends time with her. What makes you think her husband is abusing her?
348. MAMA MJUNI:
Something isn’t right with her.
349. MZEE ALI:
It may be something else—you said yourself that she was hiding something.
350. MAMA MJUNI:
I don’t know; I just have this feeling. It’s an instinct I’m sure you wouldn’t understand.
351. MZEE ALI:
Well, if you say so.
352. MAMA MJUNI:
Do you think you can intervene as a district councillor of the village and maybe help her?
353. MZEE ALI:
Listen, mama Mjuni, even if I wanted to do something about it, I couldn’t. Farida would have to come out and acknowledge that she is a victim of abuse.
354. MAMA MJUNI:
I hope I’m wrong. But I can’t help but feel concerned about her.
355. CONTROL:
Mama Mjuni

 

356. Scene 8

357. Location:
Int. Jenny’s house. Evening.
358. BG SFX:
Sound of TV.
359. Characters:
Jenny, Vumi.

360. SFX:
SOUND OF FOOTBALL PLAYING ON THE TV.
361. VUMI:
(CHEERING) Come on! Pass the ball! Pass the ball! (SCREAMS) Aaargh! You should have scored! That was a clear chance!
362. SFX:
JENNY OPENS THE DOOR AND ENTERS.
363. JENNY:
Heeh! My husband, you know I could hear your yelling from far away.
364. VUMI:
Aaargh! It’s just these young FC messing with my mind today. They can’t seem to find the back of the net.
365. JENNY:
Watch out; people may think a crazy person lives here.
366. VUMI:
The only thing I’m crazy about besides young FC is you.
367. SFX:
VUMI EMBRACES JENNY.
368. JENNY:
(JOKING) Well, it sure doesn’t seem that way. You didn’t cheer the same way for me when I came inside.
369. VUMI:
Well, that’s because I have been a young FC fan since I was a little kid, but I have just been married to you for 6 years.
370. JENNY:
I knew it!
371. VUMI:
(LAUGHS) You know I was just joking. So tell me: how was your day?
372. JENNY:
It was so busy—and you?
373. VUMI:
Well, I was busy supervising the workers with the harvest.
374. JENNY:
I wish I had been there to help, but I was so busy at the garage. (EXCITED) You know I had to fix the car of the factory manager today.
375. SFX:
VUMI SUDDENLY JUMPS UP CHEERING, THINKING HIS TEAM SCORED.
376. JENNY:
Are you even listening to me?
377. VUMI:
I was listening, my dear. It’s just this team today. They are missing so many chances.
378. JENNY:
I also went to see Farida today, and she was not in a very good state.
379. VUMI:
(STILL OCCUPIED WITH THE GAME) Come on, pass the ball! Pass the ball!
380. JENNY:
(SHOUTS) Vumi!
381. VUMI:
What?
382. JENNY:
I’m talking to you about serious matters and all you can think about is your game?
383. VUMI:
My eyes are on the game but my ears are fixed to you. I am listening—trust me.
384. JENNY:
If that is true, then what did I just say?
385. VUMI:
You said you went to see Farida and she was in a good state.
386. JENNY:
(EMPHASIZING) Not in a good state! I said she was not in a good state. I think her husband has been hitting her again.
387. VUMI:
No. What gives you that idea?
388. JENNY:
Because I was there with her and I saw her bruises and injuries. I just can’t believe he is doing this to her. Somebody needs to do something about this.
389. VUMI:
I would advise you to stay out of other peoples’ business.
390. JENNY:
I’m sorry, but I just can’t sit back and watch my friend go through what she is going through.
391. CONTROL:
Jenny

 

392. Scene 9

393. Location:
Int. Farida’s house. Night.
394. BG SFX:
Sound of knocking on the door.
395. Characters:
Farida, Afande Kaifa, Sifa.

396. SFX:
AFANDE KAIFA OPENS THE DOOR AND ENTERS THE HOUSE.
397. FARIDA:
(APPROACHING MIC) Hey, how was your day?
398. SFX:
SIFA COMES CHARGING IN TO HER FATHER.
399. SIFA:
(APPROACHING MIC) Daddy is back! Daddy is back!
400. FARIDA:
Sifa, stop making noise. It’s already late in the night. People are trying to sleep.
401. SIFA:
Shikamoo.
402. AFANDE KAIFA:
Marahaba. And why aren’t you sleeping at this hour?
403. SIFA:
Because I was waiting for you so you could help me with my homework.
404. AFANDE KAIFA:
Why didn’t you ask your mother?
405. SIFA:
Every time I tell her to help me out with my homework, she is always too busy.
406. AFANDE KAIFA:
I’m too tired for that now.
407. SIFA:
But the teacher said that he would punish me if I don’t finish my homework by tomorrow.
408. FARIDA:
Sifa, can’t you see that your father is tired from work? Go into your room and I will come help you later.
409. SFX:
SIFA HEADS INTO HER ROOM.
410. FARIDA:
(TO AFANDE KAIFA) You should eat something.
411. AFANDE KAIFA:
What did you cook?
412. FARIDA:
I prepared some plantains and beans for you.
413. SFX:
FARIDA SETS THE FOOD FOR AFANDE KAIFA.
414. FARIDA:
The plantains are very good. I bought them from Mama Juma at the market today.
415. SFX:
AFANDE KAIFA BEGINS EATING.
416. FARIDA:
You know while I was at the market today, I saw Grace and all the men were whistling at her as she passed, trying to get her attention. I felt sorry for her. Sometimes her beauty can be a curse.
417. SFX:
AFANDE KAIFA KEEPS ON EATING.
418. FARIDA:
Oh! And did I tell you? Jenny came by today and she told me how she fixed the car of the manager of that beans factory. I was so happy and excited for her.
419. AFANDE KAIFA:
And what is so exciting about that news?
420. FARIDA:
Because it is not every day that you see a woman mechanic like Jenny fix the car of such an important person.
421. AFANDE KAIFA:
I feel so sorry for her husband.
422. FARIDA:
And why is that?
423. AFANDE KAIFA:
Because a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not in some car garage doing work that is meant for men.
424. SFX:
SUDDENLY WE HEAR LOUD MUSIC BLASTING FROM AFAR.
425. AFANDE KAIFA:
(IRRITATED) Aaargh! It’s that noise again in the middle of the night.
426. FARIDA:
It must be coming from Mama K’s bar.
427. AFANDE KAIFA:
I warned her to stop making that noise at such a late hour or I would arrest her the next time. But she never listens.
428. CONTROL:
Farida

 

429. Scene 10

430. Location:
Ext. Mama K’s bar. Night.
431. BG SFX:
Loud music blasting as people cheer.
432. Characters:
Mama K, Grace, Doris.

433. MAMA K:
(DRUNKENLY, FAR FROM MIC) Everybody, I have an announcement to make! Stop the music!
434. GRACE:
(EMBARRASSED, NEAR MIC) What is she going to do now?
435. DORIS:
(LAUGHS, NEAR MIC) I don’t know. Oh my God! She is so drunk!
436. MAMA K:
(CONTINUES, FAR FROM MIC) I said, stop the music!
437. GRACE:
This is what I have to deal with every night! Put her to bed after she drinks herself to sleep!
438. MAMA K:
(CONTINUES SHOUTING, FAR FROM MIC) I said stop the music! DJ, stop the music!
439. SFX:
MUSIC STOPS.
440. MAMA K:
Today is a good day because I just got paid.
441. SFX:
CHEERING.
442. MAMA K:
I repeat: today I got paid my vicoba money! So I want everybody to drink what they want because the drinks are on me.
443. SFX:
EVEN LOUDER CHEERING.
444. GRACE:
(IRRITATED) I’m really tired of her drinking habit.
445. DORIS:
I think you should let your mother live her life. She is just having fun. (LAUGHS) Look at her dance.
446. GRACE:
It’s easy for you to say because she is not your mother. I’m so tired of this life. I just wish I had enough money to continue with my studies. Hopefully, I can get a job and she won’t have to do this kind of work. I just hate seeing her like this.
447. DORIS:
I doubt Mama K will let go of her bar.
448. GRACE:
You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to make the best of my situation. I’m going to be really serious with bean farming and make a lot of money selling beans and pay for my own education.
449. DORIS:
(SARCASTICALLY) For that, you are going to have to be really business savvy and not think that every man that welcomes you into his office is trying to take advantage of you.
450. GRACE:
Oh! I can see your business negotiations with Sigi went well—you just can’t stop talking about it.
451. DORIS:
(BLUSHING) Oh! It was great, Grace. And next week he has promised to take me out somewhere. (LAUGHS) I don’t know where.
452. GRACE:
(LAUGHS) Doris! Doris! Why am I not surprised that he didn’t say where?
453. DORIS:
Look, your mother is climbing on top of a table.
454. GRACE:
What now? She is going to hurt herself!
455. MAMA K:
(FAR FROM MIC) Everybody drink! Drink! The drinks are on me.
456. GRACE:
(STANDING UP) I’m going to take her to bed.
457. SFX:
GRACE GOES TO GET HER MOTHER.
458. GRACE:
Mother, please come down from that table or you may hurt yourself.
459. MAMA K:
(DRUNKENLY) Leave me alone! I still have my senses and I know what I’m doing. You think I’m drunk? I’m not drunk.
460. GRACE:
I didn’t say you were drunk. Come now; let me take you to bed.
461. SFX:
GRACE HELPS HER MOTHER DOWN FROM THE TABLE.
462. MAMA K:
Leave me alone; I can walk by myself. I’m not drunk.
463. GRACE:
Okay, watch your step.
464. MAMA K:
I am not drunk. I told you I am not drunk!
465. SFX:
GRACE AND MAMA K FADE OUT INTO THE HOUSE.
466. CONTROL:
Grace.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Kheri Mkali, script writer, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Reviewed by: Frederick Baijukya, IITA.

This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, www.idrc.ca, and with financial support from the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada, www.international.gc.ca

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