Amina’s Choice

Amina’s Choice is a story about resilience and is a present day story-taking place in Uganda.  

It has many themes running through it:  

Human Rights of the child v/s parental rights

Early marriages, arranged marriages and culture

Dowry and traditional wedding ceremonies: Introductions and Kwanjulas

Girls staying in school

Choices vs reacting to situations – obedience v/s courage

Math- how math is used in our everyday lives (counting, estimating, games, crafts)

African Names: What does a name mean?

Characters:  Amina, Mzee, Adong, Malaika, Sanyu, Otim

Objects Symbolism: Omweso Board, Weaving, Bracelets

It is written using the Cinderella motif,

See below to see the final page of the book “From the author, inspiration for the story”

Cinderella type books from Africa:

Nzima and Njunju: A story of two friends by Natasha M. Karugire (Uganda)

Kukurumbalumba’s Magic Calabash by Dawn Ridgway (Namibia)

Chinye: A West African Folktale by Obi Onyefulu (Nigeria)

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe (South Africa, Shona)

See below to see a comparison of the opening page.  Notice what has changed in the authors writing.

1.  Amina Cinderella by Cathy Kreutter    Feb 2014 First Draft  3200 words

There was an old mzee who had a daughter and he loved her very much.  All of his older children had left home and Amina was his last born.  Amina’s mother had been old when she gave birth to Amina and she had died.

He would hug her and say “ I named you Amina because it means ‘one who is loved’,  I want you to always remember, even if I am not around, that you are loved.”  Amina grew into a pleasant, cheerful girl that brought joy to her father who took very good care for her.

Before school each day Amina would rise at the cock crow and fetch bathing water.  She would sweep the compound and happily milk the cow, while Mzee started the morning fire and they sipped steaming tea together.   In the evening Mzee would help her with her homework.  He took pride that Amina always came top of her class.

“Amina, are you sure that you are not lonely?” he would often ask, “There is only me and the cow to talk to!”

“I am too busy to be lonely!”


2. Amina’s Choice (A current Cinderella story in Uganda but no fairy God Mother) Aug 24, 2015   (4000 words)

Amina leaned on her father’s knee watching him win yet another omwesu game.  Mzee was the village champion and Amina inherited her father’s talent for numbers and strategy.  He loved her dearly, not because of her special talent, but because she was the last born of his dear elderly wife who died in Amina’s first year of school.  All his older children had grown and left home so Amina became a constant companion for Mzee.  

He took her with him to fetch water, they swept the compound and milked their gentle old cow together.  In the evenings after their hut was tidy, they would sit together by kerosene light to tackle Amina’s homework.  Only after all the work was done would Mzee bring out the omwesu board.  He would often ask, “Amina you are a girl, so why do you like playing this old man’s game with me?” To which she always laughed “One day I am going to be able to beat you, then I will really be smart!”


3. Amina’s Choice by Cathy Kreutter Final version   2300 words Feb 2, 2018

“Three, two, one,” Amina dropped her last empiki seed, “I won!”

Mzee watched with pride then smiled, “Hmmm, now watch carefully, here comes the most feared move in Omweso!”  Amina’s eyes grew wide as Mzee captured all her seeds in two swift moves.  

“Teach me how to do that!” Amina pleaded.

“That move, my dear clever daughter, is called akakyala, two moves and your opponent is out. I will teach you the secret. But, tell me Amina, why do you like playing this village man’s game with your old father? Girls don’t play Omweso.”

“I want to be the champion of Ntuti Village like you, and surprise others with akakyala!”

Amina’s Choice Page 1 2014 - 2018

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