A four-day old infant of biracial parents was left at an orphanage and boarding school for mixed race children founded by German Catholic nuns in a remote mountain region of Tanzania, East Africa. I was that child.
As I grew up under their harsh control, I was constantly reminded that neither race wanted me and that I was an outcast in African society. I had no mother, family or tribe. My name was “Fat Mary” and the nuns frequently reminded me that I was a “child of sin.” Food and clothing were scarce. We were expected to work hard. The big girl in charge of me found excuses to beat me daily.
To survive I created another “Fat Mary”—my inner counselor and consoler—who guarded the sorrows, overwhelming emotions, good memories, and powerful events of my life for me until I could safely look at them.
I knew that education was my salvation and the only way to eventually make a life for myself. I found release and joy in dancing like the Africans.
My story of being caught between cultures and races is told with stark honesty, humor and raw emotion. Africa’s Child ends as I fly away from Africa to a new life in a new country.