Excerpts from Bakhita's story are taken from manuscripts told by Bakhita herself to her Sisters in Venice between 1910 and 1929.
MESSAGE FROM BAKHITA
I'm here to tell you my life story, one that is probably very different from yours...
First of all I want to tell you that God is a good Father and takes care of all this children: rich and poor, from every race and nation, no matter what colour or language.
I want to let you know that God is good and He is always close to us, everywhere, even when we forget about Him. He's close to those who are having a good time, those who are in tears, and those who suffer...
He knows that sometimes we don't treat each other like brothers and sisters should, and that's why the world around us is not as lovely as it should be.
And so, I'm going to tell you my story, today, so that you can learn how to be more generous, be able to discover the beauty and goodness that is all around you, in the people you meet, in your friends and in everything that surrounds you.
Then together, you will be able to build a better world for those you will tell your story to...
Our story begins in a village in Sudan in 1876. In a pretty round hut, with a thatched roof, looking like an umbrella, there lived the happy family of a well-to-do man, brother of the village chief. There were three fine boys, a married daughter with a small baby of seven months, and twin girls, about seven years old.
I can still see the men and women working and singing in the fields, while children splashed about in the river, the same river where we brought the animals to drink...so much running around, so many games, such laughter!
Mummy used to say,"This child just won't keep still!" It was lovely, too, helping grandmother. I used to grind maize in the mortar-dish, and she used to mix the flour and cook for us children...we were always hungry...I can almost smell it now...
All of a sudden a cry of alarm and terror broke the rhythmic thuds of pestles falling on the mortars and the joyous voices of the children at play.
The slave-traders! The slave-traders!
People scattered here and there, all running for their lives. Bakhita instinctively clung to her sister, who snatched her away and threw her near a heap of straw. Quickly she covered herself with it. "Don't move, don't shout!" she whispered and off she fled to save herself.
She had gone but a few steps, when, quick as lightning, rough fierce men fell upon her and dragged her away with other young women and strong healthy men.
I cried so much and so did my mummy and daddy. The men took their spears and went off in search of the slave traders, but they never managed to find them...
Two long years elapsed since that terrible afternoon. People resumed their usual humble occupations, but almost every family carried its weight of sorrow and sadness for the loss of some loved one.
Bakhita was by then a smart, lovely little girl of nine. Her ready smile showed a bright line of while teeth. She loved her mother intensely and showed it in a hundred and one ways to console her for the misfortune which had befallen her eldest daughter.
Bakhita loved nature too. All that is beautiful attracted and enchanted her: the birds, the butterflies, the tall palms, but above all the flowers. The bright wild flowers fascinated her.
One day, accompanied by her playmate Moinah, away she went, carefree and happy towards a meadow, all studded with flowers. Soon, there they were, busy gathering armfuls of them, forming bunches and weaving garlands: one for mother, one for...