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I was hungry. So hungry.
I’d had nothing to eat for breakfast. Sometimes I was given a glass

of milk and a slice of bread––but more often, like on that morning, my
stomach was empty as I boarded the bus that would take me from where I

lived, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, to the school about ten miles

I was fifteen years old. Active teenage boys require at least 2800

calories per day in order to grow and thrive. I was lucky if I got twenty
percent of that. So I endured a constantly aching belly that rumbled and

roared loudly enough for others to hear, along with a bone-weary

tiredness, agonizing migraines, and occasional dizzy spells.
I lived in a house with my mother, whom we called “Sister Martha,”

her husband John, their two small children, and my beloved sister Sheron.
Three years older than I, Sheron did everything she could to help me, but

she could accomplish little even to help herself, because our mother
regularly beat her and also often beat me. Nothing was more likely to bring

on another attack than my mother seeing Sheron slipping me something

extra to eat.
So Sheron and I lived on very little food––and on the mangoes from

the glade of trees in the back yard not far from our home.
Not long after I’d arrived in Kingston from the inland hillside village

in northern Jamaica called Friendship, about seventy miles north near the
coast––where I was brought up by my wonderful, devoted grandfather
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