No Condition is Permanent



This was a beautiful friendship A once-in-a-lifetime friendship Would their cultures, African, and American, so different, tear them apart? We were walking single file to the rice field three mornings later. As we went, Khadi tried to explain to me the secrecy surrounding Sande, but it was difficult. I watched her muscles tense as we walked along, the strange sight of a big bra crossing her usually empty back. She was strutting, and had little patience for my questions. She had never questioned the Secret Society. It was something she learned from her grand-mother and would pass onto her granddaughters. Completely forgetting my promise of months before to not be a know-it-all, I blurted out “But you can’t just believe it all. Just because they tell you to? You’ve got to ask some questions and get some answers. In America–.” Khadi stopped on the trail, and I crashed into her. Turning back to face me, she cut right in, something she’d never done before. “Dis no be America.” In an unforgettable novel that teems with details of African culture and life, Cristina Kessler heroically tackles one of the most important, most controversial issues for women of our time.

From the first moment, the two girls are inseparable–carrying water, collecting firewood, and working in the rice fields together. Everything seems perfect to Jodie until the day the entire village breaks into a wild dance. Suddenly strange things start to happen–Khadi disappears daily, and even Jodie’s mother seems nervous.


“Secret Society, Jodie. Stay away from it,” she warns her. But Jodie wonders what this Society is all about. Surely it can’t hurt anyone if she just checks it out. Or can it?