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A Day in the Life of a Mama

By Opal,* RMM worker in North Africa

In many ways my life as a mama here has not changed from the life I would lead as a mama there, but some glimpses into my days might show slight variations. Look into the window of my day…

Every day I think about food. At least one day a week, I walk with Raleigh* to the fresh market. We often stop at the cubicle which houses two men and a cage full of chickens, “a one pound chicken please.” It will be warm when we pick it up in a few minutes. We move on to the cubicle of Mohammed and Hamid. Vegetables are heaped all around. They hand us plastic bowls to fill and place on the scales (weights still made of heavy metal on one side). We choose a cabbage, potatoes, onions, peppers, peas/beans, parsley, and pumpkin (which they cut off from a massive pumpkin sitting on the old, wooden counter). We return to pick up the chicken and sometimes we add a kilo or two of sardines which someone has scaled and cleaned for us. Then we head home again to wash, peel, store, and cook meals from scratch. Right now, my laptop sits on the kitchen table and I juggle lunch prep, typing, and a one-year-old who will get into everything messy that she can!

On other days I walk to the supermarket – a western feel. I pull our wheeled cart-bag behind me. Sometimes I have a child strapped on or walking beside me, and we walk several blocks to get tubs of yogurt, big packs of diapers, coconut milk, raw sugar, or other rare items not found in our corner store. Often I meet our friend, a tall, elegant beggar lady who knows we share lentils or yogurt because we follow Jesus. We chat about the weather, her bad family situation, or her sad health diagnosis. We show respect for the lives we share with one another.

Every day I carry laundry to the third-floor washing machine. On sunny days (most are sunny), I hang out load after load in the moisture-sapping North African beauty of a blue sky and a clear breeze. The kids scamper around the sunny roof. We look out across people’s roofs, mosque minarets (often they blast into our sunny afternoon), trees loaded with oranges and lemons lining the street, and mounds of vines with fragrant flowers hanging over others’ walls. This is a great space for contemplative prayer. I think about the kind neighborhood watchman just one street over, who respectfully greets me and is often reading his Quran as I pass. I see the neighbor lady in a house across a vacant lot at her kitchen window preparing or washing up. I also think about the gentle young man who Raleigh relates to at our corner store. He is far from his home down south working a thankless job for little wages.

Some afternoons, I welcome my language teacher into our little second-story office/classroom. She pulls out the kids Bible storybook for me to read, “This is the adventure: errands without a car, blessing neighbors in God’s name, the patience it takes to raise children, and the patience it takes to see what God’s Spirit is blowing into these dear people’s lives.”translate, and discuss. Recently, our classes have been very deep. She is asking the big questions, longing for answers. I’m straining my brain in her language, extremely rich for both of us. She loves God but wants to know truth for sure. After classes, I search for answers to the big Jesus questions we discuss.

On one day an outing may find me catching a little red taxi with friends. We explore a big market on the edge of town, tables full of used clothes, shoes, perfect and plentiful vegetables, huts selling fried fish, dates, household needs like an individual roll of toilet paper, plastic everything, or a broom head.

This is the adventure: errands without a car, blessing neighbors in God’s name, the patience it takes to raise children, and the patience it takes to see what God’s Spirit is blowing into these dear people’s lives.


Pray for Opal and Raleigh and their children as they go about their lives in North Africa – pray that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit and find opportunities to share the love of Christ in each moment.

*Names changed for security