Stuff I Talk About

by Christina Ledbetter

War and Peace

So many scenes packed into one place. A young girl on the side of the road (everything is on the side of the road) in nothing but underwear, dipping water from a bucket to clean herself in front of the fort-like dwelling she calls home. A man dozing on a torn piece of cardboard, a boy of maybe four atop him, attempting to rouse the sleeper. A chicken bone hidden […]

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Chopped

Two black calves (the animals, not the body parts) goofily butt their heads together by a street food vendor as office workers stand by the beasts and eat their dinner . . . Vibrant strips of cotton spread out before me on marble floor; the fabric soon to become reusable sanitary pads for village girls who currently miss school during menstruation . . . Forty rupees (sixty cents) to have […]

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Picking up Barley

Did you ever have a new kid transfer your school from another country? And they didn’t know what MTV was and their shoes were really weird? Or have you met someone at a party and instantly you realize they know twelve words of English? Someone so culturally other that every moment of conversation with them is painful? We’re those people right now. We’re the African kid who moved to your […]

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In One Land, From Another

Violet, lime and tangerine fabrics swishing along the sidewalks. One street market, two grocery stores plus some herbs from an Egyptian friend’s refrigerator in order to make a dish of Greek marinated chicken, turmeric and cinnamon spiced quinoa over spinach with Turkish dates. White fireworks exploding in the sky over the hill celebrating festivals we know nothing about. Twenty-four hours to make hummus from scratch in a land where canned […]

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These Few Blocks

Life is bumping along here. A few evenings ago Benson and I sat on floor cushions sewn from vintage saris, drinking Indian beers and staring out at the city as the sun set. It’s funny: we were so excited to get furniture, but we spend more time on floor in front of the window than our sofa. “What have you learned since being here?” Benson asked. “Like practically?” “Everything.” I […]

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They Stole My Grocery Store

I’d planned for a tear-jerker of a post regarding how God graciously provided us a church. We’re going to save that for later though because SOMEBODY STOLE MY GROCERY STORE. It all started as I was trying to procure a watermelon and a mattress. Anita, the kind woman I’ve hired to wash dishes and iron, and I walked to the mattress shop a block away. As we prepared to cross […]

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Sustainability

I watched two men sitting outside the restaurant I like to go for breakfast. Their arms, hands and fingers waved fluidly in sign language to one another. Between them I noticed the stray dog who lives just beyond the restaurant door. He’s a healthy weight. He has learned to make his way on these streets and is most often sleeping contentedly when I see him each morning. On this day […]

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Giving and Taking Away

“Makeup? Makeup? Is good one. Pen? Is best pen.” “Is it all good?” I bantered, waving my hand around the crowded little stall filled with measuring spoons, tin cups, can openers, mirrors (which the shopkeeper called makeup), plastic waste baskets and of course, pens. The wiry Indian man smiled back. Benson paid for our items, I told the host of workers “Shookria,” and we walked down the narrow Mumbai sidewalk […]

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Humility

Yesterday I felt like a prairie woman in a bonnet waving goodbye to her husband who was setting off in his wagon to tame a wild frontier and secure land, shelter, vittles. But really I was just standing in my driveway waving goodbye to Benson who was setting off in an Uber to travel to Mumbai and secure the keys to our Indian apartment, a mattress, bank account, local phone, […]

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Details

All together now – USA! USA! I cried when we landed. And then I cried when I saw our roommate. Then we went to church and I cried and wondered if the man sitting next to me was sort of weirded out. I know there are people who actually go through hard times in their lives – sickness, divorce, poverty, war – so I feel like such a pansy being […]

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