My mother told me that when she was pregnant, she was always going to the farm. One day a stick hurt her belly. She injured that place on her belly and that is how I got this mark that is with me now.Oduna (Nigeria)
This mark that I have, why did I get it?
When my mother gave birth to me, she wanted to hold me with her hands, and her nails injured me, but it wasn’t intentionally.Ewottoubou, Benin City (Nigeria)
This mark that I have on my back, why did I get it? Because in my tribe, when they are bathing someone, they will press their hands on, continuously, I don’t know why.
My mother told me that whenever you are bathing someone, you will put this mark on the back.Ewottoubou, Benin City (Nigeria)December 1978When I was sick, my mother cried and was very worried, saying that she doesn’t know the type of baby I am. So my mother took me to a native doctor, and the native doctor told my mother that he wants to put marks on my face; that when blood comes out, I won’t get sick again.
So he put the marks on my face. As the native doctor put the marks on my face, he said I am “a child that comes from the river”.
I was still getting sick and sick, everyday. My mother said “let’s go to the native doctor again”. On getting there, the native doctor gave me marks on my back, and on all parts of my body. But I was still getting sick and sick, everyday.
One day my mother met another native doctor on her way. He stopped my mother and told her “I know you have a child at home that is very sick. When the day is getting dark, bring the child to me”. My mother took me to this native doctor. The native doctor gave my mother a pap, and he said she should feed me with it, and I won’t get sick again.
My mother gave me this pap and till now I never fell sick again.Ewottoubou, Benin City (Nigeria)August 1986
I was in my village, Oduna, I was sleeping. I was bitten by moune moune [small insects]. As I was scratching it, I got these marks.Oduna (Nigeria)August 1988
One day my mother sent me to get water from the well. Going to the well, I saw some of my girlfriends. We were playing together as we were going.
We saw a caoutchouc seed, we put it on a pen and we used it to mark our skin.
This is how I got these marks that are on my body.Ewottoubou, Benin City (Nigeria)August 1989
When I was working on the farm with my mother, using hoes, I saw a rabbit and I decided to catch it. My mother said “Oghogho, come, let’s go back home”.
I said “mummy, I want to catch this rabbit”.
I was chasing the rabbit and my mother got angry and threw the hoe hitting my legs. That is how I got these marks.Oduna (Nigeria)September 1989
When I was in my mother’s village, I used to go to the bush searching for snails. My mother told me “if you see a snail in a hole, take it and leave. If you go on searching for more, you will see a snake”. But I didn’t listen to what my mother said. When I was looking for snails, I saw one snail and I took it. I was still searching inside and I saw five other snails.
When I was about to take the last one, I met a snake. The snake came out and was chasing me. I was running away and I fell, and the cutlass I was holding injured me on my legs.Oduna (Nigeria)July 1990
One day, going to work, my father told me to prepare a pepper soup, to be ready before he comes back.
I started preparing it on the stove, but I fell asleep.
While I was sleeping, what I was cooking was burning, so my father’s wife came back from the market and saw smoke everywhere. She woke me up.
When my father came back from work, he was very annoyed and he beat me up with his military belt, and I was bleeding. He later took me to the hospital and they stitched the wounds on my hands.
Then my father brought me back home.Ewottoubou, Benin City (Nigeria)May 1993
When I was washing our house, I decided to lift the centre table. As I was trying to carry it, I slipped and I fell with the table. I hit my leg on some iron that was on the floor. I was bleeding and I was taken to the hospital, where my leg was bandaged.Ewottoubou, Benin City (Nigeria)August 1995
I told Bright: “it’s not yet time for me to date a man”. He said we should be together, he didn’t listen to me, he was still following me.
One day, I went to the well to get water, and while I was fetching water, one of my breasts came out from my dress and Bright saw it and grabbed me and bit my breast. This is how I got this mark.Agivige, Benin City (Nigeria)March 1996
When I was preparing to go abroad, a native doctor told me to come, that he will put some marks on my body, since I am preparing to go abroad. So I went to the man and he put these marks on my body.Ewottoubou, Benin City (Nigeria)June 2000
These two marks that are on my legs happened from a white man's hands, in Italy. I was walking and he scared me. He didn’t do it intentionally.
I fell into bottles and got these marks on my legs.Corso Allamano, Torino (Italy)October 2000
This mark that I have on my hand, I got it when I was working in the factory.None (Italy)December 2002