africa · Intentional Living

Thanksgiving for Home

I kind of missed out on Day 3, so I’m going to combine Day 3 and 4, with one post now, and one post tonight.

Day 3:

When I lived abroad, by village standards, my house was great. It had 4 walls, a roof, windows that mostly closed, and a door that not only closed but locked. I had a decent pit latrine and a clean yard with a big clothesline. There were evens some trees, and a fence that kept the neighbor’s goats and cows out. The water tap was only about 30 feet from my door, in the middle of the yard, and the electricity worked most days.

By American standards, what I had wouldn’t be call a house. Critters could crawl beneath the gap until my door, and chunks of my walls periodically fell down. My roof didn’t leak, but there was no ceiling, so the metal would pop and creak in the sun, and the rain was deafening. My floor was bare cement, and my walls were plastered cement. There was no insulation, so when the temperatures soared above 100F, or plunged before the freezing point, I was miserable. And on winter winter days, my curtain would fluttered around in the breeze leaking through my drafty windows.

But it was home. It kept me dry, and safe. And it was a sanctuary in a world that was foreign to me. 

Now that I’m back in the states, I really appreciate how homes are built here. Even if they are drafty, or have a leaky basement, or those pain-in-the-butt storms windows that you have to put on each year, homes here are still good. They have roofs AND ceilings. You won’t understand the importance of ceilings until you experience a Kalahari downpour beneath a metal roof.

Even with my headphones up completely, I still couldn’t hear the movie I was watching on my laptop.

And again, my home there was far nicer than most in my village. When my Dad came to visit, he commented on the chicken coops he saw along the highway as we drove to my village. He didn’t understand why there were so many.

And he was flabbergasted when he realized they were people houses, not chicken coops or cattle pins.

Because a few pieces of corrugated metal slapped together don’t make a house in our culture.

I am thankful to have a home. I am extraordinarily thankful that it has things like insulation, a ceiling, running water, and electricity. Because, no matter what we think in the USA, those ARE luxuries that many people in the world don’t enjoy.

So whether your home is your dream home, or a work in progress, or even something you can barely stand…

Give thanks for it today.


 

I’ll post tonight about Day 4 of Thanksgiving, so keep an eye out!

-Jen

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