One day when I was still living in Ajọwa, the teachers asked all the students to bring food to school for a special occasion. The teachers gave us rice and meat. This is the best of everything, I thought to myself. But then a boy said, "Give me some of your rice." I said no and told him that everybody had his or her own share. He threatened me: "I will beat you today." On our way home he said, "Monica, I told you to give me some of your rice. You refused.""You eat your own," I said. "You have no right to mine." Then he tripped me. I fell forward and hit my leg on a stone. I could not tell everyone at home that somebody had beat me, though. When a boy makes a girl fall down, adults call the girl lazy unless she beats him back. Adults like a girl who can fight.
At first the sore from my fall was little. Three days later, though, my leg began to swell. Fluid had built up around the wound and it hurt terribly. I pressed the fluid out and cut bitter leaf to cover the sore with.* If I did not cover it, flies would follow me around, attracted by____________________