Bringing the Text to Life
Maria Said, journalist, was excited when she first learned she would be spending some time in the African desert working in international development. She imagined living in a small hut of her own, with a palm tree to the side. Perhaps a little desk surrounded by mosquito netting where she could write and work, living not unlike Kristen Taylor Scott in The English Patient, or Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. She had a vision of the desert akin to today's Scripture from Isaiah, especially the opening lines: "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing" (35:1-2).
The reality was much different. In her own words: "For two years, I shared my home with more than 30 children, four freedom fighters, a government bureaucrat, a wife-beater, a Red Cross worker with a taste for liquor, a number of prostitutes, a madman, and all the customers of the tea shop next door."