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Ruth May then overhears another discussion, this one between her mother and father. Reverend Price declares that the Congolese sinfully mistreat their bodies, neglecting these sacred objects. Orleanna points out that the Congolese need to use their bodies like Westerners use tools, and that their bodies, therefore, are bound to get worn out. The Reverend is angered by her response.

The rainy season begins earlier than the Prices expected. When the torrential rain stops, the Price family discovers that their garden has been completely ruined. The rain has swamped the flat ground, and washed the seeds away. Leah gets down on her knees and begins gathering the seeds. She and her father replant, but this time they follow Mama Tataba's advice and pile the dirt into mounds.

Using Mama Tataba's method, the garden flourishes, but not in the expected way. The plants grow lush and tremendous, taking on an odd jungle-like character, but none of them bear fruit.

Rachel's birthday comes, and Orleanna is devastated to discover that the Betty Crocker cake mix has solidified in the humidity. It is unusable. Later that day, Methuselah squawks out the word damn, and all three older girls are punished since the crime of uttering the profanity cannot be definitely pinned to any of them. All three girls know that their mother is the one responsible for teaching the bird the profanity, exclaiming miserably over Rachel's ruined cake, but none of them give her away.

Walking home from church one day, Mama Tataba declares to the girls, "Reverend Price better give that up," and Adah suspects that she is referring to his fixation on baptism. At dinner that night, Reverend Price tells a story about a Mercedes truck that drove all the way from Leopoldville to Kilanga using little boys fanning elephant grass in place of a fan belt. His message is that anything is possible, so long as you are willing to adapt properly.

Reverend Price delivers a sermon focusing exclusively on the merits of baptism, and afterward Mama Tataba reprimands him angrily. The Price women watch from the window, but cannot hear what is being said. Mama Tataba then comes inside and informs the women that she is leaving them. She teaches them a few vital skills they will need to have in her absence and then takes off.