Maria Nyabera is Akoko’s only daughter who is three and a half years younger than Obura. She can be described as:
She undergoes a lot of suffering. Her first child dies at the age of two. The child suffers from fever, jaundice and swelling of the tummy. She loses her two sons to a ferocious outbreak of measles. She loses her father and brothers, and miscarries when Awiti is three years and soon after her husband dies. She is inherited by Ogoma Kwach and they have two children, but they both die. When in Aluor, she learns that Ogoma’s wife has died so she goes back to him. They have another child who dies soon after. The man also starts to court a younger girl and feeling rejected, she goes back to Aluor.
When she decides to go back to her matrimonial home Aluor, she offers no explanation and her mother looking into her eyes, lets her go without demanding one. “There are many longings and fears which can never be put fully into words.”(pg 118)
In most cases she depends solely on Akoko to make decisions.
Her husband confesses that, she never neglects her duty to go traipsing off to her home for she is industrious.
In Aluor, she would always accompany her mother to till the land and together they have granaries of food and a big herd of cattle. “The two women became some sort of a fixture on the green sloping countryside, and the locals, not as motivated as they were, made endless jokes about their iron backs and caked feet.” (pg 117)
Even when she is told how hard it is to master Christian concepts, she does not hesitate to go to Aluor. She memorizes all the stories which she later recounts to her daughter, nephew and mother, “After she mastered the basics of religion she started attending mass every morning before class.”(pg 107)
Due to her jovial nature, she is easily likeable. She has,”…a personality to charm the birds off the trees.”(pg 33) Right from a tender age, her mother does not have to worry about baby sitters because young girls line up to hold the baby. “Obura was very jealous for he would have liked to have more of his sister to himself.”(pg 33)
Even after making a break with tradition to join Christianity at Aluor, she still comes back to her matrimonial home to seek her inheritor, Ogoma Kwach in order to get a son. This is a breach of the Christian doctrine that she now professes.
Although she marries a poor man, Okumu, and brought with her a sizeable herd of cattle, sheep and goats, she respects her husband and shows him humility although he could hardly raise the bride price. She treats him with the utmost respect and politely seeks his permission to go visiting her old home.
As a sister, she loves her brother, Obura, and his death devastates her. She becomes a loner wandering away by herself, mute and quiet for days.
After she settles in Aluor, she remembers to go for her daughter, nephew and mother whom she loves in a special way. She loves Owuor like her own son”…….formed such a solid wall of love around the children.” 9pg 116)
Plot development – she helps in the development of the story, as she is Akoko’s child and mother to Awiti. She brings about change by seeking the Christian religion and gives birth to Awiti who pursues the white man’s education.
Theme development – through her, themes such as change, religion, education, family relationships and death are developed.
Style development– she helps in portraying several aspects of style like; rhetorical questions, dialogue, allusion.
Character development – She helps develop other characters e.g. through her Akoko’s character traits as caring, comforting, independent minded and religious.