Friday, August 04, 2006

I never want to forget them. They were beautiful. They were generous and amazingly hospitable. They were ready with a smile and a hug and a kiss on each cheek. They opened their hearts and arms to us so readily, without even a hint of suspicion in their demeanor. We struggled in language only, but it’s incredible what gestures and smiles and hugs can do. We communicated, oh yes.

Her name was Aisha. She was the mom of the household. She was a lovely lady, very gracious and waited on us hand and foot. We never ate enough to satisfy Aisha. “Each!” - that’s what it sounded like to us – her encouraging us to eat more - as any good mother would do!

As the team left to travel to another village, I stayed back with Jennifer, who was sick. Aisha and her husband, who spoke a little English, were very concerned about Jennifer; they were so sweet and accommodating. What Jennifer needed was rest. So as she slept away her bug, so to speak, I got to spend time with Aisha and her close neighbors and friends, many of whom were related to her in some way that we never could verbalize. In the late afternoon, the ladies sat and talked on the sidewalk in front of their homes. Although I didn’t understand much of what they talked about, they made an extra effort to include me and it was a special and touching time for me. I took note of all of their names and I pray for them.

It felt like Bible times to me. Up close, many of the structures and buildings appeared to be made from mud and hay. Air conditioning is unheard of. Showers, ceiling fans, tile floors and froshes (couches) were only owned by the elite. They had electricity, but not quite like we do. The bulbs hung from the ceilings with just a wire and the illumination was dull. Many families had only one water source, but it was a common sight to see women carrying water buckets from the river to home every day. Bathrooms were squatties: a hole in the ground and slightly elevated steps for your feet.

We saw lots of kids, but no toys. I saw one young boy kicking a tin can down the street. I saw a baby teething on an empty yogurt container. Some children would stare vacantly at you, but most would smile and greet you with “Bonjour!” I’m happy to say that we didn’t see starving children, at least, not that appeared so. Twenty Americans (prayer) walking in a village was a spectacle. We not only got noticed, but droves of children would follow us and laugh and want our attention in some way. Many of us prayed that our appearance would stay in their minds and make a difference for the cause of Christ someday, somehow.

In the villages, cars were few and far between. In the cities, they were usually jam-packed with people. Most people walked everywhere. Mopeds and bicycles and of course, donkeys were on the road with us often.

They did not possess much materially speaking. They have never known the conveniences and advantages that most of us Americans expect and take for granted.

It’s the very thing I never want to forget about the people of North Africa.

Their human spirit of compassion and kindness and joy of living seemed to overflow despite their circumstances. We can learn a lot from that, can we not?

Mom

6 Comments:

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes we can! Thanks for keeping my head grounded in reality today, Mom! Lord, bless those who must struggle daily to meet their most basic needs. May they find comfort and rest in you. Forgive those of us who take for granted your rich blessings and fret over which designer tile is installed in the air conditioned, guest room bath.

 
At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless you...
Greenfield, Indiana

 
At 11:23 PM, Anonymous kristin dutt said...

mom-

thank you so much for reminding me again of those awesome things you shared w/us about N Africa. thank you for that.
thanks again for your hospitality. it was great to see you all.
love you guys.

~kristin

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Cedarburg Tina said...

Sometimes it takes a real reality check for us to remember what is truly important and what isn't.

Prayer request: my sister, Sue, who I shared with all of you back in Jan. had a benign brain tumor removed. She appeared to be doing better, returned to work etc. However, she has continued to have horrible headaches, some type of episodes that we're not sure if they are seisures or small strokes, she had a new MRI done that was inconclusive so they are doing another one on Wed. and the CAT scan she had done showed that she also has been having more mini-strokes because the infarction (results) is bigger instead of being reabsorbed like they said it would be. So...right now she is off of work b/c she was struggling to add correctly, was irritable to customers and b/c of her headaches. We're not sure when we're going to get an update. Prayers for strength and patience and the ability to handle whatever the results may show. Thanks so much, sorry about the long entry.

Tina

 
At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Mary Leestma said...

Thank you so much for the reminder! It's so easy to take everything we have for granted and be selfish, but it's so much more rewarding to share whatever you have, lots or barely any, with others.
I love you guys. You have blessed my heart more than you will ever know.
Mary

 
At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool blog, interesting information... Keep it UP » »

 

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