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A Tale of Two Hosts

By Cora,* RMM worker in North Africa

In the last month, I was privileged to visit locals in the countryside two different times. The first time we went out, we were going to visit an older lady who my roommate had met at the train station. This lady seemed very lonely and called my roommate every day just to talk, so we decided to go visit her.

We took the train about thirty minutes out of town and when she came to pick us up, she was on the back of a moped. She explained that her car was in the garage, but not to worry – we would get a taxi back to her house. We walked a little way and my roommate asked again if there were taxis in that town. The older lady nodded and said, “Yes, there are two.” This was quite amusing to us, who are used to having taxis on every street corner. We waited a little while for one of the two taxis, but when they didn’t come, our friend flagged down a man on a moped and told us to hop on. We could only go one at a time, so my roommate was the brave one to volunteer to go first.

By the time we all made it to the house, we were amused and thankful to be back safely together. Our host was so hospitable! She made a huge meal with grilled kebabs from a sheep they had just slaughtered. We ate and ate and ate!

As we talked with her, we found out that her husband had just died this spring and most of her children are far away. She lives by herself so her loneliness is understandable. She told us that we were like daughters and that anytime we wanted to come visit we were welcome.

We were also able to hear her perspective on religion. To her, religion is very personal. She talked about how God gives rules in order to keep humans safe and healthy, and when we disobey these rules, we will suffer because of the natural consequences. She has also been on a trip to Mecca, so we asked about her experience there. She has lived a full life and we were able to listen and glean from her knowledge of the culture and life here. We are all looking forward to going and visiting her again!

“…they are all such wonderful people, but in desperate need of truth in their lives.”The other family we went to go visit was a friend of one of my roommates. This family lives in a home that they have slowly built and improved as they have money. All the walls were cement and we sat on mats on the floor. This family was also hospitable and wanted to give us their best. It was even more meaningful because we knew they didn’t have as much but they gave us all they had.

While we were there, we ate together. One of the sweetest things during that meal was their three-year-old boy who kept saying, “eat, eat, take, take." The role of the host is to tell their guests to keep eating until they can eat no more. The son had seen his mother do this more than once, and he wanted us to feel welcome because we were his friends too. After lunch, we took a nap together. We laid out the mats around the room and went to sleep. It was so nice because in the countryside there is no sense of time. Things are done as they need to be done. We stayed for tea time and our host showed us how to make a flat pastry. They asked again and again for us to stay the night with them, and we promised that we would the next time.

These two families had very different income levels but that did not stop their hospitality. In both situations, we were warmly welcomed, taken care of, and given all the family had to offer. These families genuinely wanted to spend time with us and love us. It’s a beautiful thing to feel that acceptance and be able to love back.

Please pray for all the people I’ve mentioned in my stories – they are all such wonderful people, but in desperate need of truth in their lives.

*Names changed for security