The scorching sun pounded down relentlessly and dazzlingly from a seemingly perfect cloudless azure sky. The searing heat was unbearably debilitating leaving those out working in it, sticky and drained. Sweat poured down the faces of the Chinese peasant women working in the rows of verdant, mulberry bushes, which stretched for miles just within the southern border of Kwangtung at a place called Siu Laam. They loosened and hoed the sprouting weeds in between the bushes to prevent them from becoming choked with rampant undergrowth. It was hard work akin to slave labour. The year was 1926.
Nuo Low, a care worn but nevertheless beautiful nineteen-year-old grimaced in pain. Her long dark hair was twisted back into a ponytail and the tufts, which had liberated themselves from this constraint stuck in slick strands on her face. Nuo was at a distance from most of the female workers and in the company of her friend, Bo Yap, who was five years older. The two had deliberately kept themselves away from the rest of the work party. Every now and then Bo would glance across at her friend with concern and watch her. As Nuo straightened up from her backbreaking work her silhouette against the burning sun revealed that she was heavily pregnant. Her loose but damp tunic instead of hiding her condition now clung fast and appeared to strain against her middle. Nuo doubled over in pain and tried to stifle the cry that rose so readily to her lips. Bo looked anxiously across at her, “Has it started?”
--by Elizabeth Revill, The Forsaken And The Damned
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