It was a huge swimming pool, with concrete
sides. I was a very slow learner when it came to
the art of swimming for survival, and it got the
better of me on this particular day.
The kiddy pool, surrounded in Mickey Mouse and
friends, just wasn’t quite so appealing to my
more adventurous side. The large pool looked so
much bluer, so much cooler.
I was ordered to hold onto the metal bar that
went down the pool steps. I held on for a while,
too, as I bobbed and jumped around excitedly in
the much deeper water.
Then, slip went my fingers off that metal bar
and backwards I fell into the deep. Down to the
pool floor I plummeted, watching the blue
sunlight swirl around on the pool walls. To the
top and then down once more…I continued my
frantic efforts to swim for air.
My sister’s legs appeared, trying to help me
back towards the shallows. Frantically, I
grabbed onto them, desperate for air but my
sister wanted to breathe too and had to shake me
“Well…this is it” I thought to myself as I
hovered near the pool bottom, watching now in a
surreal haze the legs of other swimmers passing
by, and how pretty the sunlight looked dancing
on the pool floor. I remember accepting that I
was going to die and as my body began to float
up one more time a streak of blue passed by me
as my mother grabbed me up with her saving arms.
After this time I was convinced I was home free
on the near death department…I had paid my dues
for life in my opinion.
I was fourteen years old and we were leaving to
go back to the U.S. for good. My dad had just
landed us in our little four passenger mission
plane, safely into the airport of Accra. It had
been a rough flight and when we all tumbled out
the heat outside was at a staggeringly high
My father left to go and hunt down a taxi to
take us into town and I remember leaning my head
against the side of the plane for a moment to
rest. Suddenly I felt an unreal surge of nausea
and light headedness.
Moments later I was lying on the ground hearing
my mother screaming for people to get help…and
the voice of my sister frantically calling my
My body was drenched in sweat and I remember I
was weaker than I had ever known being before.
It was a horrible feeling. My dad had come and I
don’t think was aware that I had just had a
stroke from the heat. They got me into a taxi
and I remember feeling almost lifeless in my
body as we drove, completely dazed and
We made our way to a gas station where my mom
bought my siblings and I ice cream bars to cool
off. I stood there with my bar and I remember
losing all control of my body as I was beginning
to once again black out.
My ice cream fell unknowingly to the floor as I
frantically called for my sister to hold me
up…that I didn’t want to fall. My sister,
seventeen at the time and freaking out over her
younger sis’s wide eyed look of terror, held
onto me as I temporarily went down onto the
My mom jumped quickly over and they helped me up
onto a bench nearby. Nausea washed over me once
again as I did everything I could to not black
Some of the locals began to laugh as they
watched the drama unfold and my mother quickly
reprehended them for doing so. I knew my mother
would guard me with her very life.