My first day back in Rehab’s Corner was quite an experience. Once disengaged from Esther’s heartfelt greetings, Stacy and I attempted to make some order out of the chaos our bags and six crates of yarn created. Later, we got together to share our jet-lagged thoughts of our new home for the next three months. Our heads spun from the many faces and names. Could it be possible we would remember them all?
We shared a mutual moment of pinching ourselves. We really were in Africa! Peace informed us, “It would be an honor to cook and clean for you.” Though we both balked initially, no one is complaining now. She is a fantastic cook and knows the ingredients far better than either of us. Once, I attempted to wash a towel on my own. Now she absolutely refuses to let me wash anything other than my own knickers.
Making some inroads into organizing the rooms, we went into the kitchen for lunch. Afterwards, we offered to wash the dishes, only to find no hot water. Both of us recoiled. Who washes their dishes without hot water? People, it appeared, were thriving here despite what we considered to be lack of basic hygiene.
Several more judgments roared to the forefront of our brains as we saw babies eating their porridge on the ground or the amount of sugar heaped on everything. Equally appalling was that trash was just dropped. Crushed plastic bottles and flip-flops long past their usefulness became embedded in the landscape and roadbeds. No thought of recycling here.
Independently of one another, Stacy and I arrived at the same conclusion. What good where our prejudices serving us? We certainly didn’t come here to change things around because of her own cultural biases.
I’m delighted to announce that we have survived a month of dishes washed in cold water. I even figured out how to get the grease off. Peace has decided not to buy more sugar. We can’t change the plastic issue, but we can start by making people more aware. All of this we accomplished because we dropped our judgments and walked a mile in someone else’s shoes. Lesson Learned Day One.