Article #20 in the YCC Kids Club Ghana Student Life Stories Project
When I Was Nearly Burned to Death
By Edor Easteria, Age 14
I was four years old when I got burnt by fire. This happened on a day when my mother left to the market to sell. My mother did not come back early, and so my elder sisters began to prepare the Akple, (also called Banku) which is a common food in the Volta Region of Ghana.
By then, my Aunty had finished preparing her dinner, and her children Martin and Mathew came to eat with me and my junior sister, Hannah. Then my Aunty left to take her bath.
In the course of eating, the food got finished, but we remained hungry. Instead of calling our Aunty to come give us more, we decided to take the food ourselves.
At that time, we were living in a village with no electricity. We used fire lamps for cooking and light. Hannah was sitting down, I was holding the plate, and Martin was holding the flame lamp while Matthew was going for the food.
Martin placed the lamp on the floor, not realizing the danger. I was dressed in a cloth, and when I bent down to get the Akple, my cloth covered the lamp. Before I realized it, I was under flames of fire.
“Help! Help!” I lamented. Before my siblings could put the flames out, the fire had severely burnt my hand, arm, belly, and armpit. My siblings gave me a bath and some medicine as best they could. Suddenly, my sweet Mother came back from market, and on seeing my situation, she burst into heavy tears.
The next day, as early as possible, I was sent to the hospital near my village. I was so severely burned that I stayed in the hospital for a full month, which cost my family a lot of money. Even after I was discharged, I was asked to return to the hospital every three days. To this day, ten years later, I still have burn scars all along my body. Can you see them in the photo to the upper left?
I think that at times people in developed countries think it’s cute or interesting that some people live in underdeveloped conditions without electricity or running water, but this story is an example of why development can be a matter of life or death. Because my village relied on fire instead of electric light, I was nearly burnt to death.
Youths! Let us help develop the world so that it can be a better and safer place for us all!
Lillie’s Note: Easteria is a proud member of the YCC Cross-Culture group which will be traveling to the United Kingdom this August for three weeks to investigate International Development and Youth Partnerships. Please leave her a comment, stating your geographical location!