Life is a gift from nature. Sometimes in life, we take many things for granted because we have them every time with us or around us. The air we breathe, the good health of mind and body, the life we have, etc. are gifts from nature. We must be grateful for them all. For many, it is something normal to sleep at night and wake up the next day. without knowing that many slept with us last night but were unable to see the next day.

You will only come to appreciate these things when you come in contact with those who are lacking them. During my last visit to my university clinic to dress an injury I sustained while working in the laboratory, something strange happened. After the dressing our the wound, I was coming out of the hospital when I was called by an aged man sitting with his wife on an iron bench that was a few metres away from the entrance of the hospital. At first, I thought he was calling a young boy who was just beside me until the boy touched my left shoulder. When I turned, he signalled to me that I was the one the old man was calling. “Come stai? (which means how are you in Italian).” I replied to him, “Sto bene ( I am fine). “Please, my wife would like to touch you. She said she has never touched a black person since he was born,” he said to me. At first, I was reluctant. I saw it as a mockery. ” Is it because I am a black or maybe she thought I was an immigrant,” I told myself. Many negative thoughts were going on in my mind. I slowly moved close to her and stretched out my right hand and greeted her. She held my hand for a few seconds, looking at it with admiration and a smiling face. She rubbed her hand on mine up to the upper region of my wrist. “Mama mia, che bellezza! My son, don’t feel bad. I can’t resist touching you. I have been hoping for years the very day I will have the opportunity to touch a black skin, just to know how it feels.” She said to me. I told her, “There is no problem you are welcome.” “I am very happy now. Please don’t misunderstand my gest,” she said to me. I never said anything. “Where are you from?” Her husband asked me. ” I am from Nigeria,” I retorted. “Are you schooling here in Rome?” She asked me. ” Yes. I am schooling at Tor Vergata University,” I replied. “Waoo!! That is great. Happy to hear that,” she retorted.

“My son, for three years now, I have been on this oxygen kit. I remembered when I was like you. That was 60years ago. Three years back, I was able to breathe freely without any aid. But now, things have changed. I spent a lot every month to keep this oxygen kit working perfectly, not talking of other drugs I am taking just to keep my life until the very day death calls me,” she said to me. I never knew when I started shedding tears. Her last word struck me. But why was she telling me this? I didn’t ask her. “My son, you will not understand what it means to live on oxygen kit. Are your parents still alive?” She asked me. “Yes, they are,” I retorted. I had to hold back my emotion but it could be noticed in my voice. I was totally touched by her condition. “Are you a Christian?” Her husband asked me. “Yes, I am a Catholic,” I replied. “Please, pray for us. It has never been easy with me. All my children are outside Italy. Sometimes they come to pay us a visit but,” He never completed his sentence. I sensed the pain in him. “Thank you, my son. I wish you all the best. Ciao,” she said to me.

That very day, when I was alone in my house, I went outside, look at my surroundings and gave a deep breath. I tried to respirate slowly just to feel deep inside me how it is to have a natural air. After that experience, my way of seeing certain things in life which I deemed to be common things changed for good.

Be grateful for the breath of life you have. Be grateful for the gift of life you have. Be grateful for all those little things around you that are giving meaning to your existence. You are having them free of charge, but somewhere in the world, many are paying to have them.



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