Two Ships

Herieth-Paul2Ife saw him waiting for the elevator.  She tried not to make it obvious that she was watching him as she pushed the cart down the hallway.  She knew he was in no. 406, the Royal suite.  He was very handsome and a sharp dresser.  He must be rich, she thought.  This was a 5-star hotel he was staying in.

He was looking straight ahead and appeared to be in deep thought.  He didn’t notice her and when the elevator doors opened, he went inside.  After they closed behind him, she continued down the hallway to the different suites she still had to clean.  When she got to his, she looked around.  It was in impeccable order.  The bed looked like it hadn’t been slept in.  Out of all the suites on this floor, his was the one she didn’t mind cleaning.

As she got to work, she wondered how long he was staying in Kampala this time.  The last time it was for two weeks and the time before that, three.  He wasn’t the first Japanese businessman she had seen in the hotel or in Kampala.  More and more Japanese were flocking to the city to live, holiday or set up businesses.  Was he planning to live here or to set up a business?  What about his family?  Did he have a wife and children?  He looked young–in his mid to late thirties.

Well, it was none of her business.  A man like him would not be interested in her–a single mother working as a maid in a fancy hotel and living in a run-down neighborhood.  And they were from different cultures.  No, she would be better off finding and marrying a decent Ugandan man who wouldn’t mind being a step-father to her daughter.

Toshiro leaned against the tree, looking up at the hotel.  She was probably in his suite 62_ac32e335-d1d8-4e7c-bffa-e98b58858fd7now.  He knew that she was watching him as he waited for the elevator.  He could feel her eyes on him.  He appeared not to have noticed or acknowledged her but he had.   The temptation to look at her was very strong but he resisted.  She could be married for all he knew and he was in a relationship.

To be honest, he was staying at this hotel because of her.  The first time he saw her was last year when they passed each other in the hallway.   Their eyes met and held for a long time before she lowered hers.   Since then, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her or wanting to see her again.  Perhaps, one of these days, he would say hello to her.  There was no harm in that, was there?

Just then a taxi pulled up in front of the hotel’s entrance.  He glanced at his watch.  It was time to go to the meeting.  Moving away from the tree, he hurried over to the taxi and climbed.   As it drove off, he glanced up at the fourth floor.  Hopefully, he would see her again tomorrow.

This is a prequel to Ife’s Toilet Crisis.

Role-Play

young-african-woman-with-red-turban-over-gray-background

My name is Ezra and I’m an Angolan woman married to Francisco, a Portuguese businessman.  We have been married for ten years.  We have two children, a boy named Bento and a girl named Mafalda.  We live in Luanda.  During the week, I’m at home alone because Rodrigo is at the office and the children are in school.  I’m a housewife and I love it.  I love taking care of my family.

From the time I was seven years old, I knew that I wanted to be a homemaker when I was older.  My mother, God bless her soul, was my inspiration.  I watched her work tirelessly and happily to take care of the home, my father, my siblings and me.  When I was old enough, I helped around the house.  She taught me how to cook and keep a clean house.  She told me that one day I would be a wife and it was best to start learning how to do things as early as possible.  Sadly, she didn’t live to see me get married or hold her grandchildren.  My father and my siblings were at my wedding.  They were happy for me and warmly welcomed Rodrigo into the family.  They weren’t upset that I married a European man instead of an African man.

Rodrigo and I met when I was working as a cook at a restaurant owned by a family friend.  He came in there one day to have lunch with a client.  After having my Fish Calulu, he wanted to meet me to personally compliment me on the dish.  Feeling a little self-conscious after being in the hot kitchen all morning and not having enough time to fix myself up, I went into the dining-room.  He stood up as I approached.  He was tall and very attractive in his expensive looking grey suit.  I was immediately attracted to him.  He smiled and said in Portuguese, “I wanted to personally tell how much I enjoyed the Fish Calulu.  It’s the best I’ve ever had.”

I smiled shyly.  “Thank you.”

His client had left so we were alone.  “My name is Rodrigo,” he said, extending his large hand.  I looked at it before placing my hand in it.  The long fingers closed over mine in a firm handshake.

“I’m Ezra.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ezra.  I wonder if you would like to have dinner with me tomorrow night?”

I gulped.  He was asking me out on a date.  I could hardly believe it.  It took a moment for me to say, “Yes.”

“Good.  I’ll meet you here at eight.  “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.”  I watched him leave and then returned to the kitchen.

The following night we went for dinner at a popular Portuguese restaurant.  Afterwards, we went for a drive.  We saw each other regularly after that and the following year, we got married.  I quit my job at the restaurant after learning that I was pregnant with Bento.

Life with Rodrigo ideal.  Our sex life is amazing  and sometimes, we indulge in role play which add a little spice to the marriage.  Lately, I have been dressing up as a slave girl while he pretends to be my slave master.   But this is happening way too often.  He wants to do it for every lovemaking session.

Last night, he pulled my dress down about my waist and turned me around so that my bare back was to him and had me hug the bedpost.  He got the whip he had bought from one of those sex stores and started to use it on me.  It didn’t hurt but Rodrigo wanted me to pretend that it did.  When he was done, he dragged the dress off and threw me down on the bed.  I lay there while he ravaged me, staring up at the ceiling and wondering if this nightmare would ever end.  What had started out as harmless fun had become something I dreaded and desperately wanted to stop.  I wanted to be his wife and lover again not his slave.

I’m sitting here in the kitchen, staring out at the window.  I have made up my mind to tell Rodrigo that I’m not going to be his slave in the bedroom anymore.  And if he cares about me and our marriage, he will respect my wishes.  Worst case scenario, I will pack up and leave.  And of course, take Bento and Mafalda with me.

Hours later, I’m in the bedroom and Rodrigo walks after taking a long, hot shower.  He’s stark naked and by the looks of him, he’s in the mood.  I’m standing by the bed, wearing one of my nightgowns.  The slave girl garb was tossed in the garbage along with the whip.  I was very determined not to subject myself to that again.  Before he could say anything, I said, “Rodrigo, I’m Ezra, your wife, not your slave girl.  I don’t ever want to play that role again.  I didn’t mind doing it the first few times but you want to do it every time and it’s no longer fun for me.  It has become degrading.  I refuse to do it any more.”

topless male

Rodrigo stared at me.  Silence filled the room and I found myself holding my breath as I waited for him to say something.  He came over to me and putting his hands on my shoulders, he said as his eyes met mine.  “Me desculpe, querida.  I’m sorry.  I should have realized that this particular type of role playing would affect you.  It was very insensitive of me.  Please forgive me.”

Relief washed over me like a tidal wave and I hugged him around the waist and buried my face in his chest.   He will never know how close I came to leaving him if he had not respected my wishes.

Role-play in marriages is healthy and exciting but make sure that both of you are having fun. Never indulge in role-play which will demean or devalue either of you.

Changed

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

This was the prayer that changed Lisa’s life.

Before she prayed it one night in her room,

she was a selfish person.  She went about

her busy life, not having time for anyone.

She went to church, yes, but she never

expressed any interest in being involved

in any of the ministries.  She didn’t attend

the afternoon programs or prayer meetings.

She never joined the youth group who

visited the senior homes.  She left church

soon after the service ended.

 

She didn’t visit her family often and

when she did, she found them all very tiresome.

She preferred to be on her own.  She spent

most of her time reading a book, watching TV

or browsing shops in the mall.  Her relationships

didn’t last.  All of her exes got tired of giving and

not getting much back.

 

She managed to convince herself that she was

satisfied with how her life was.  No obligations, no

commitments and no constraints.  She was free to

come and go as she pleased.  In her estimation, she

was doing just fine.

 

But God had other plans for her.  One evening she

watched a story of an older woman named Edith

who was always kind to everyone.  She had to go to

hospital for tests.  It turned out that she was terminally

ill.  Instead of sinking into depression and being angry

at God, she accepted her fate.  She spent the time she

had in the hospital telling everyone who would listen

about Jesus.  She helped a young girl who was pregnant

and unwed.  She didn’t judge her but spoke kindly to her.

She gave her the name and address of a women’s shelter

where she could go and stay until she was able to find a job

and raise her baby.  Edith didn’t think about herself.  She

was always reaching out to those around her, talking to

them, encouraging them and sharing her faith with them.

 

By the time Edith died, many of the people whose lives

she touched accepted Jesus.  Before the movie ended,

Lisa was sobbing uncontrollably.  This woman’s unselfish

character and love for others made her feel ashamed.  She

knew that if she had been in Edith’s shoes, she would have

been lashing out and asking God why.  Not once did this

gentle woman do that.  She was always saying, “That she

was looking forward to going to sleep and then waking up

when the trumpet sounded and her Jesus came to take her

home.

 

Lisa got down on her knees and poured her heart out to

God, begging Him to forgive her and the words of the

Psalm came to her.  God answered her prayer.   Now,

she was a driver for a senior centre.   She took clients for

their appointments, treatment programs, shopping, banking

and other daily chores.  The hours were flexible.  She

loved what she was doing.

 

Like Edith, she shared her faith every opportunity she had.

She attended prayer meetings and participated in church

programs and events.  Her time was better spent now and she

felt a joy and peace she had never experienced before.  Her family

noticed the changes in her and were impressed.

 

And on a more personal note, she was in a new relationship.

He was a volunteer at the senior centre.  So far, so good.  Only

time would tell.  For now, she was happy serving the Lord who

had opened her eyes to her true spiritual condition and had

brought her to the place He had prepared for her.   He had given

her a completely different outlook and a new purpose for her life.

 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven – Matthew 5:16

 

assisted-living-care3-720

 

Sources:  Bible Gateway;  Lumacare

 

Shelter

Her world had been one of

Abuse, neglect and heartache.

At seventeen she ran away

Being on the streets was better

Than living under the

Same roof with an unloving

Mother and abusive step-father.

 

She was her mother’s only

Child.  Since the day she was born,

She had never known a mother’s

Love.  All the love she had

Received came from her father.

Her world was turned upside

Down when he died.  She was

Seven when her mother

Remarried.  Life from that point

On was nothing but misery .

 

When she was sixteen, she started to stay

out late just to avoid going home.

Her mother accused her of

Getting into mischief with boys

And things got so bad that

She slipped out one night

and never looked back.

She used the money she had

Stolen from her mother’s hand-bag

To buy some food—then the money.

ran out.  She begged and got a few dollars

But she couldn’t get much—just a

Hot chocolate and a donut.

 

One afternoon, she was sitting in a corner,

slumped against the wall under

The weight of despair when a

Woman approached her.  She had

A kind face and her voice was

Gentle as she asked, “Are you all right?”

The girl shook her head.  “No.  I’m cold

And hungry.”

“Don’t you have a home to go to?”

“No.  I ran away from home and I

Don’t want to go back there.”

The woman studied her for a moment.  “Come

With me.”

 

The girl hesitated for a moment and then

She got up and followed the woman into

A coffee shop.  After the woman ordered

Two hot chocolates and sandwiches,

They went and sat at a table by the window.

After some gentle prompting, the girl told

The woman about herself.  She saw the

expression of compassion on her face.

After the girl was finished.  She asked, “What’s

Your name?”

“Amy.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Amy.  I’m Gail.  I work at

The homeless shelter just round the corner.

If you have no objections, I will take you there

After we are finished here and you will stay there

Until you are ready to be on your own.”

 

She handed Amy a brochure which she glanced

Through.  The shelter promised  food, a clean bed

and a safe place to stay.  For the moment that

was all she wanted.  She smiled shyly.  “Thank you.

I would like to stay at the shelter.”

 

Gail looked pleased.  “Good.”  She sipped her hot

Chocolate.  Then she looked directly at Amy.  Her

Expression serious.  “You know it was no accident

That I found you,” she said.  “I believe that God

Meant for us to meet.  You know that He loves you

And He wants what is best for you.”

 

Amy had heard about God but this was the first

Time anyone told her that He loved her.  This

Revelation brought tears to her eyes.  She only

Experienced love once in her life and that was

From her father.  Since he died, all she knew

Was mistreatment, sorrow and cruelty.  Yet, this

Kind woman, a practical stranger, was telling

Her that God loved her.  It was something

That she would never forget.  And tonight

She was going to sleep in a warm bed in a

Shelter and not on the street in the cold.

Yes, Somebody did indeed love her.

 

young teenage girl

Source:  Covenant House

South Asian Kitchen

I’m so used to having a nice, big kitchen with lots of natural light and a window that it’s hard to imagine preparing meals for my family inside a South Asian Kitchen.  A South Asian kitchen is very basic yet this is where a mother prepares delicious food for her family.

I read that in India women use wood, charcoal and animal dung for cooking.  These can lead to serious health problems, including respiratory infections, low birth weight and eye problems.  Cooking indoors increases the family’s exposure to smoke.  Seventy-four percent of households cook their meals inside the house while 32 percent cook inside the house without having a separate kitchen or room for cooking.

Find out more about everyday life for women in Asia at: http://www.gfa.org/women/

Gospel for Asia has prepared a recipe for chapatis, a flat-bread, typically made three times a day in Asia.  I am thinking of making it one of these days. When I do, I will blog about my experience and share the recipe.  As I make chapatis I will be thinking of the women in South Asia who have to make do with extremely basic kitchens with no proper ventilation.  And I will count my blessings that I have an electric stove, a self-cleaning oven and a fully functional kitchen with running water.  And I will be thinking of what can be done to improve the kitchen conditions for women in South Asia.

The women in South Asia need access to clean water, improved sanitation and safe cooking fuel so that millions of deaths worldwide can be prevented.

 

Sources:  Health Education to Villages; Gospel for Asia