“What’s wrong with you, boy? That spitting cobra could have poisoned you.”
Still in one piece, I march toward the nearby sparkling waterfall. How badly I want to go under it, close my eyes and feel the soothing water rush over my filthy brown hair. But I can’t, because I need to stay vigilant. There’s always the chance that a crocodile or hippo is lurking around. My swollen legs carry me forward until I spot numerous pink round-petalled flowers containing melegueta pepper, the spice that fuels Fernão Gomes’s African Gold Coast trade. I stop briefly and snatch five of the bright red pods, stashing them in my bag along with some gold and red hog ivory tusks.