I sucked in a deep breath as my hand flew to my rib cage; I closed my eyes and endured the few moments of excruciating pain. Having a partially formed aortic vessel meant these pains came every few hours, so painful usually I collapsed or cried out to my God.
I sat on the floor and looked at my dirty hands covered in mud, the even darker skin underneath signified to everyone I was an outcast. Living in Africa in 1975 seemed like hell on earth, I had no means of medicine, no stable diet, no comfy beds and no family. I picked up my pot of water off the ground which had half spilled out and put it back on my head, I would have to turn and walk back up the hill to refill at the well. Oh well, I thought, that’s life.
As I reached the well I looked into the muddy water, my relfection shimmered back. I had long black hair which framed my thin oval face. My skin was pure but I hadn’t had a good wash in days, my frame was small and malnourished. I refilled the jug and turned to go back down the hill. Back to my hut, back to my solitude, back to my reality.