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Book Six: Song of the Three Children
Rachel operates the Equatorial as a world of her own where she calls all the shots. Having once had a severe venereal disease contracted from Axelroot, she has never been able to have children, a condition she occasionally regrets. She has no intention of ever trying to move back to the States as she believes that to acknowledge her experiences would prevent her from ever fitting in as an American socialite. Besides, the idea of her expensive belongings being scattered all over Africa is more than she can bear. She considers herself the type of person who never looks back.
Leah Price: Sanza Pomba, Angola
Leah and her family have been in Angola for ten years where they are able to grow a variety of crops and raise pigs in a grove of palm oil trees. She has abandoned any pretext of Christian religion and sees that in time, even whiteness is erased. They work with a steady trickle of people who migrate into the country and settle on the cooperative land. One of her most daunting challenges is getting women who have spent their lives on the move to understand the value of planting things that will take months or even years to bear fruit.
Adah Price: Atlanta
Adah has left the medical profession because she is not comfortable with the Hippocratic oath. She is not at all sure that physicians have the right or the responsibility to cure every defect and guarantee every child the experience of old age. Good intentions of the modern world have resulted in overpopulation, deforestation, and death by famine and war. She calls herself a witch doctor because she has learned the African concepts of balance, life and death, cleansing and wholeness. Adah spends her life studying the history and behavior of viruses. She visits her mother once a month, but they usually sit in silence on Orleanna’s porch.
Although she has had ample opportunity, Adah never married. With each new potential mate, she would imagine herself amid the sea of ants and ask herself whether the man would have rescued her, the cripple, or one of the more perfect siblings. None of the men measure up, and she can’t accept a relationship with anyone who would not have wanted her when she was crippled.
The section summarizes each girl’s life. The one thing they share in the end is the abandonment of their father’s religion, perhaps because he never exhibited Christianity in a way that made it meaningful to their lives. Rachel says that she doesn’t look back, but in even telling her story and in the resignation to the life she has built, it is clear that she does look back. She simply closes her mind to anything that would pull her down. Adah and Leah, in spite of the differences in their locations, both accept the traditions of the Congo and live more aligned with African custom than with those they were born to. Adah’s evaluation of men is probably too harsh, but comes from the experience of having been once abandoned. She is at least content, although success and fulfillment may be debatable concepts. Leah is the one who has found lasting happiness. Anatole would probably say it is because she is "béene," truth to herself as well as to others.