To Italy - Bakhita

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To Italy

Italy

From Bakhita's Diary

Towards Italy


Two years or so passed without much change. And then the day came when the Consul was recalled to his native country for some important affairs. I cannot ezplain why, but when I first heard the word "Italy", whose beauty and charm I was ignorant of I experienced in my heart a keen desire to follow my master there. Since he loved me, I dared speak out and asked him to take me along with him when he returned there. He patiently explained to me that the journey was long and expensive, but such was my pressure that he finally gave in.
It was God's disposition, as I see it now, though a long time had to pass before I realised it. Even now, when I think of  it, I still can taste the joy that was mine on that occasion, though so many years have passed since ihen.
And so we departed, the Consul, a friend of his, - Mr. Augusto Michieli - myself and anotherAfrican boy. who was once a slave like myself.  Forming a camel- caravan we reached Suakin, where we spent about a month. It was there that the sad news reached the Consul that in Khartoum, pirates had attacked the resiclence, reduced it to ruins and kidnapped all the servants. Had I remained in Khartoum I would have been kidnapped once again. What would have happened to me then? Only God knows. So I thank Him for having saved me once more. Not only the Consul, but also his friend had their homes ransacked, and both were extremely upset by the news.
As I mentioned we remained in Suakin for about a month, after which we boarded a liner and sailed through the Red Sea and other seas, till we reached Genoa. There we put up at an hotel, whose owner, a good friend of Mr. Michieli, had requested the latter to ransom for him an African boy. As we landed, the boy who had travelled with us, was warmly welcomed by the Hotel keeper. When Mrs. Maria Turina Michieli met her husband at the port and saw me and the African boy, she fell in love with the two of us. Right away she blamed her busband for not bringing a young girl for her too, and for their expected child. Mr.Legnani, just to please his friends, granted their wish. He proceeded alone for Padua, and I never heard of him any more.
The Michielis took me to Mirano Veneto where, for three years, I was to be the babysitter of their newly born, Mimmina. The child soon came to love me very much, while naturally, I reciprocated with equal affection.
Three years more were to pass before I returned to Suakin with my mistress. Her husband was by now running a big hotel there. We lived at Suakin for fine months. Mr. Michieli then decided to give up his business in Italy and concentrate on Africa where he intended to settle. His wife, however, had to return to Italy to sell the property, pack the furniture that would be needed and then return to Suakin. Since she was reluctant to undertake the long journey alone with the child, she consulted her husband, and took me along with her.
Though I did not know it at the moment, this was to be my last goodbye to Africa, my native country. Something in my heart warned me that I would never set foot on that continent any more, and so it was to be.


 
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