An act of kindness?

I was brought up in a shabby cottage outside a remote Danish village, with cold water and a lavatory in the back garden. Hot dogs were a special treat on Sundays. My mum and stepdad were always drunk and didn’t work – they lived off benefits. It was not the sort of environment that teaches you universal moral values and ethics.

And yet, I learned – mostly from my three brothers – that people look after one another. We help each other. Even if we don’t have much, even if we wear hand-me-downs to school and (dig up raw potatoes for dinner), we still help each other.

My brothers were removed from our family home one at a time and put into institutions. All three turned to crime and drug abuse. Two are dead, much too young; the third has AIDS. They never had a real chance at life. Not really. The abuse and the beatings they took at home – they protected me from that – crippled their hearts, their minds and their souls.

She is only alive because she is a girl.


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