Elizabeth Awiti is Nyabera’s only surviving daughter. She is also the wife of Mark Sigu. She can be described as:
When Mark feels so guilty for having been so ignorant as to give her anti-malaria drugs that makes her abort, Elizabeth comforts him. “Don’t worry, God will give us another. She didn’t bother telling him they had been twins. The poor man had suffered enough.”(pg 160)
As a mother, she” sleeps without sleeping.” Aoro’s scream when Tony falls sick at night gets her out of bed even before Aoro reaches her bedroom to report his brother’s ailment. Tony is taken to hospital “….. Held on his mother’s lap…..”(pg 180)
When Aoro pretends to faint for not having eaten for long, which is a punishment for his being undisciplined, Elizabeth,”…was watching secretly…rushed out to her son.”(pg 190)
“She mesmerizes the class with her powers to recall…..”(pg 115) She is good at memorizing prayers both in Latin and vernacular. The villagers wonder at her intelligence. “A girl! To be so clever…to receive commendation after commendation!” In class, where she is the only girl, she holds her position quite well even in mathematics which she dislikes. She emerges top of her class and is invited to join the first teacher’s college near Aluor.
She inherits her grandmother’s industry and determination. While so many girls drop out of school, she reaches the top class at eighteen. She receives a certificate on passing a tough examination at the end of the year. She works hard on mathematics which she dislikes and passes well. Amongst ten boys, she is the only girl who holds top position in class.
She does so well at school and gets admitted to a teachers training college. Upon graduation she becomes a teacher.
When she gives birth to Mary, she decisively asks the nurse for water and baptizes the child in hospital, “I baptize you Mary…..”(pg 194) She decides she is going to get admitted in hospital. She asks Mark to go back to the children and only come to visit her at the weekend or whenever she can.
Elizabeth ensures Mary does not get spoilt………mother kept her head prevented the young lady from being completely spoilt.”(pg 195)
Although many of the male students at the Teachers Training College are attracted to her and go to great lengths including throwing love notes wrapped around stones to her room to win her over, she does not yield. She remains the odd one out when all the other girls have paired up, either from within college or outside.
She is variously referred to as, “the nun”, “Virgin Mary” and “church mouse”. She is shunned by both men and women for being a non-conformist.
She visits her mother at least once every two months, but still she feels that she has not done enough. She also sends her two sons, Opiyo and Odongo to keep her company.She loves her grandmother Akoko and writes about her to Mark. “She had loved her grandmother desperately….Had admired her unreservedly.” (pg 151)
When Aoro and Tony are punished by being denied food at night, after risking the life of the twins, Elizabeth hears them in the kitchen trying to steal food and wakes up to serve them.
Plot development – She helps in development of plot- She moves with her mother and grandmother to Aluor mission, gets educated, marries Sigu and together they have seven children. Through her, Akoko’s river continues to flow.
Theme development – she contributes to themes such as change, education, feminism, love, and family relations.
Style development – She helps highlight several aspects of style such as: dialogue and humuor.
Character development – she helps develop other characters e.g. through her we see Maria Nyabera as loving, Mark Sigu is portrayed as loving, caring and naïve.