The Absence of Dirt: Tambu’s Assessment of Babamukuru’s House
Tambu is used to living in squalor and letting natural resources like dirt and tree branches be the means of building a home. Tambu is awe-struck when she sees her uncle’s home and states “… Babamukuru was God, therefore I have arrived in Heaven,” insinuating the extremity in lifestyles from her village back home (70). But she is hesitant accepting this is how others live, after growing up in a place where she helped her mother reapply dung to the kitchen floor in their home and the fumes in the home were reminiscent of goats (70). Tambu tries to balance her past world back in her home with her family and the present home of Babamukuru that introduces splendor and indulgences. When Maiguru offers Tambu delicacies such as cake, it is an instant reminder to Tambu that cake was a delicacy only presented for festive holidays and would be eaten slowly to savor an infrequent indulgence (73). She did not know how to respond to ability to have what you want when you want it because she was deprived for so long to stay in her proper female role. She in some way tries to counter choice by taking a small cake showing she reverted back to what she thinks would be proper in the situation. Ironically throughout the first half of the novel, Tambu is fighting for the choice to be more than the societal role of what a woman should be. She comes to realize” The absence of dirt was proof of the other-wordly nature of my new home,” implies the other opportunities of life outside a life of abject poverty and minimal luxuries (70). The “absence of dirt” implies the improvement of her situation from where she started and expanded her horizons beyond the opportunities of life in her village.