Rachel claims that Leah is the cause of the Prices’ problems. Lately, Leah has been talking back to Nathan—a sharp change from her old behavior. One day, Leah declares that she’ll go hunting with her bow and arrow. She’s going to join Tata Ndu, who’s organizing a village-wide hunt to stave off the effects of the drought in the Congo. Leah has been practicing with the bow and arrow that Anatole gave her, and she’s become pretty good.
This passage shows how the crisis with the ants has galvanized Leah into disobeying her father with more bravery. Leah has been questioning her father’s authority for some time now, but it took a genuine crisis for her to disobey him altogether. She seems more loyal to Anatole than to Nathan now.
Leah’s participation in the hunt was the subject of much debate. Her friends Nelson and Anatole argued on her behalf, saying that the village was too desperate to spare any archers, whether they were female or male. Tata Kuvudundu, the witch doctor, on the other hand, argued that horrible things happen whenever people break “the rules”; i.e., when women go hunting. After much arguing, Tata Ndu called for a meeting, and the agreement was that Leah was allowed to hunt.
Once again, we see the community dividing along sexist lines: there are some who would see Leah participate in the hunt, and others who refuse to allow such a thing. While traditionalists like Tata Kuvudundu oppose breaking the rules, in the end it’s just more practical to let a talented archer hunt.
Nathan was adamantly opposed to Leah’s hunting. He warned her that she must not participate, no matter what the vote was. Leah accused Nathan of siding with a witch doctor against his own daughter, and this infuriated Nathan. He removed his belt, as if to beat her, but before he could she ran away. In the coming days, Leah makes herself scarce, staying mostly at Anatole’s school, where she continues to help the children.
Leah is becoming conscious of the forces of sexism in the world. There is no neat divide between Africans and Americans on all issues—on the contrary, there are some Africans, such as Kuvudundu, who have more in common with Nathan than she does.