An Irish Orphan in Africa
The fortitude of women is measured in many ways. When Brigid is orphaned at the age of six in 1937, she is separated from her three elder brothers. She finds solace in books while living with an elderly spinster aunt and her younger brother in the country. With her vivid imagination she dreams of travelling to faraway countries. After a strict Catholic upbringing and boarding school in a convent, she leaves Ireland at the age of 21 to follow her dreams. The British Foreign Office sends her to Libya as a radiographer for two years. It is there her love of the dark continent is ignited and three years later she arrives in Malawi to work in Lilongwe. She meets her Catholic South African husband in the first two weeks, marrying him after eight months. Over the next 13 years, she endures constant control and abuse while trying to raise five children with no family or emotional support. The family eventually returns to Ireland in 1973, travelling by car and caravan for three and a half months through Africa, Asia and Europe. After a year of increasing control and entrapment she finally escapes with her five children, aided by her two eldest brothers. She never sees her husband again, as he departs the country leaving her penniless and a single mother of five young children. She survived and now lives peacefully in Dublin on her own enjoying bridge and hearing from her children and 14 grandchildren.
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