It was only to be one day’s journey back to our home. There were ten of us traveling together; my parents, a couple of my aunts and uncles and their children of various ages – some younger and some older than myself. My mother chatted away joyfully with her sisters as they bounced along the path. The men chatted but their voices were more measured in tone, so I assumed that they were speaking about more serious topics. Every now and again the adults would have to break their conversations to stop the younger children from venturing off the path to pursue a small animal, rock or plant that had captured their interest.
The terrain was flat and the road was well-worn and easy to follow but it was no match for the sickness hit me suddenly, attacking my insides. I felt the urge to vomit but when my body convulsed involuntarily nothing came up. The sun seemed to scorch and burn me. My insides and outsides felt excruciatingly hot. I lost my sense of balance, my body felt heavy, and my legs gave way. I collapsed onto the rocky path along which we were traveling.
My parents and extended family crowded around me. They were shouting, panicked. I remember my father crouching in front of me. His stern and academic countenance persisted but his brow was furrowed and his forehead was covered in sweat. His face was red and distressed.
“My little daughter are you okay?” he yelled as he reached out for my hand.
I could not respond. Before his hand met mine, all went dark. The next thing I knew was that I was lying in my own bed at home.
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