By Justina Kageni
Ngo; that’s how they refer to me. Ngo is a nickname my late grandfather gave to me when I was a little girl. I have always adored it such that at some point in life I thought it was my official name. I grew up having a very petite body than my peers. I was at some point the smallest kid in my school. Since when I joined high school I have never weighed more than 48 kilograms. I love my body and I am very comfortable with it. My friends would give me funny nicknames but I would still give a broad smile. I never missed meals back then unless if I was sick. I however wonder why the society looks at me with mean eyes. I used to think that just like everyone else I was a part of it.“God made all of us beautifully and wonderfully” I reminded myself occasionally. It was not until last year that I realized that people judged me according to my body size.
On the Christmas eve my extended family had a get-together. I had longed for the occasion so much. As I went around welcoming visitors my aunt called me aside and we had a confidential conversation that left me heart-broken.”Ngo “she whispered. “You so thin and probably you have a thousand worms that keep on taking nutrients from your body” I just looked at her and said “am OK aunt “Deep inside myself my self-esteem was taking a nosedive. Her words had cut across my soul such that I could not hold back my tears . I tried holding myself together because I knew more was to come before I went back to the university. My aunt still continued to interrogate me as she wanted to know if I was sick or my relationship with my boyfriend was on rocks. Of course neither was happening to me. I was just slim and that was all. My cousins were all plump and my relatives always compared me to them. “Why can’t you eat well like Tony “my ever drunk uncle once asked me. I could never be Tony because he was him and we never had anything in common except our love watching movies.
Does someone has to be accused of having HIV and AIDS for being fit? Or be seen as a broke fellow who cannot afford a decent lifestyle? I ask myself every day as I wake up and retire to my warm bed .However it has never crossed my mind that I should hate myself. There are millions of women starving themselves just to have what God gave me free of charge. I embrace myself knowing that at the end of it we are all people. Beautiful people with valid dreams and visions.