Two decades ago may sound like a long time; not for me.
The thought clouds my mind so vividly.
The memories of my childhood are crystal clear.
Probably, the reason why I jot them with ink and paper, beside me a flickering yellow flame standing on my lamp- table with ease and absolute zero pressure.
An image of a tiny me appears in full colour, complementing professional lens of a Canon camera, carrying my infant maternal- cousin on my back.
Seated in comfort and upright posture, the sound of goats bleating while fighting for tiny loosely hanged leaves under a baobab tree.
The morning dew reflecting the rays of the orange-yellow sun to my eyes mercilessly ushering in a clean wave of fresh scented air.
The surrounding so serene though unfair to my stomach, pangs of hunger reveling my protruded belly from malnutrition. My feet clinching the soil on the ground in full agreement that man and soil belong together.
However, as strangely as it sounds, that was the norm.
My mind had turned out to be a level playground of ideas, unearthing memories of my past life, simultaneously fixing my focus on my grandpa’s herd like a trained shepherd.
Meals were a rare gesture at home.
My grandma gave me a green card to share the same roof at my aunties’s place; just a sure case to have an evening meal before retiring to bed.
I can tell she loved me that much. It was a gesture of kindness never to be repaid.
I was barely old to comprehend what was going on. My conscience clear, a smile written on my face in contentment oblivious of any lack. Poor tiny me, naive and innocent.
The sun was going down, an indication that darkness was creeping in silence, implying that I should find my coordinates back home. An extra assignment to fetch firewood as I trace my footprints at my grandparents house.
The jaws of my mouth squeezing the juice out of the wild fruits, quenching the irritating thirst on my throat and the toddler. Magically, it somehow understood that the world did not revolve around it. Therefore, it always kept a cool and calm posture. Whenever it would cry, I would rock it on my back until it slept. I can say that back in those days a baby being a nanny for another baby, was not a big deal.
Countless musical whistles reverberating from the lips of my mouth signaling the herd to enter their shade. Religiously obedient to the voice of my call followed by tingling of bells around their neck as they follow another.
Soon after an uphill task of milking the goats followed with kicks from the kids.
I walked to my uncle’s place. By then my aunt had already nursed the young one. I stealthily crept in and sat near the fireplace in exhaustion, exhaling fatigue a sign of relief.
My feet excruciatingly burning from sores from the thorns that pricked me during the day made sure that I felt their effect one by one.
My aunt served me with a bowl of salted boiled maize and beans with no taste of oil or an onion. So far this was the best meal in the hood.
Since I was not the only child, on good days I would enjoy the comfort of a thin mattress on the dusty floor and bad days a sack was enough to carry the night with merely nothing to use to cover myself.
The following day the same routine awaited me.
I was small and tiny but very strong and willed.
I had barely joined nursery school. You can guess how young I was by then.
We all have memories, good or bad either way they are worth the thought. Some of them are not full of merry, warm hugs and all smiles around, but of full hardships and tough moments.
However, the most amazing thing is that I conquered all odds to become who I am now, and no matter what happened, the past made me stronger and taught me lessons I would have hardly picked inside four corners of a classroom wall.
Like the eagles, we have to keep soaring higher without fear of heights because each day is a day closer to greatness.
When you see anyone successful in life, appreciate them because you have no clue of the strings they had to pull to get there.
Respect their hustle and sweat.
Respect every person at the top because you do not know their success story.
Abigael is a poet, spoken word artist and a creative article writer seeking to positively influence impact the world with her writings.