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Day 14: Heaven in a Cardboard Box

This largely unedited free-write is linking up with the Write 31 Days Challenge. // indicates the start and stop of five minutes. The prompt word for today is MAIL. Go!

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day-14-mail

//  Please Mom… Please send us some toothpaste. Yes, I know there’s toothpaste here, but I can’t find ANYTHING that we like.

Please Mom… Please send us some crackers. I’ve tried every package on the shelf, but NOTHING tastes like home.

Please Mom… Please send us some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. We keep trying different chocolate bars and they look similar, but they don’t taste the same AT ALL.

Please Mom… Please send us some red licorice. We’ve tried different brands and styles, but we’re ALWAYS so disappointed.

Please Mom… Please send us some Tim Horton’s coffee. I just need to taste HOME again.

Please Mom… We’re desperate.

It’s amazing how certain tastes and smells can trigger a tidal wave of memory and desire. We’d only been in South Africa for three months, and we were doing remarkably well, considering.

But let me tell you, being the MOM on this runaway train was a ride that I wasn’t prepared for.

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Day 5: When the Heat Just Makes You Better

This largely unedited free-write is linking up with the annual Write 31 Days Challenge. // indicates the start and stop of five minutes. The prompt word for today is BREW. Go!

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day-5-brew

// There was so much to look at. So much to observe. It was 2005 and we were having a journey of incredible firsts. First time overseas. First time in Africa (Addis Ababa, to be exact). First time in a mud house. First time meeting our sponsor child.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

The sights, the smells, the sounds. The floor was pressed dirt, smooth and free from rubble. The bed was soft, the mattress old and sagging in the middle. The walls were pressed mud covered with carefully placed posters (Jennifer Lopez in her early days appeared to be a personal favourite) and textiles to bring colour and beauty to the atmosphere. It was cozy and clean. It was precious.

What a privilege to be so warmly welcomed into so intimate a dwelling.

Esayas’s mother (I think her name was Caroline―at least that’s what it sounded like to my English ears) puttered around, quickly and quietly, obviously nervous about her important guests. She humbly offered us her best. The best seat, the best cup, the best plate, and I’m certain the best of her food as well. Sadly, my North American stomach struggled to accept the flavours and spices, but I managed to take two healthy bites (one of them I swallowed twice). Read more