In March 1960 my little sister was born. Shortly before her birth, a violent cyclone devastated the island. In the middle of the year, my eldest brother left for Scotland where he was going to university and my father left for Paris as he had started a new career with Unesco. After his briefing in the French headquarters of Unesco, he was posted in the former Belgian Congo. The Congolese had thrown out the Belgians who had been a murderous colonial power and the country was torn in a bloody civil war. The UN troops had been sent there to try and keep things manageable, I believe mainly because the Congo had very rich mineral resources, from diamonds to gold, copper and manganese.

My father spent Christmas alone there. When my mother heard he had eaten a tin of crab meat all alone for lunch at Christmas, she decided to join him, although the families of the UN staff were not allowed to do so as it was too dangerous.