It was a call from Africa wishing a Happy Thanksgiving that prompted the conversation Saturday night....
Through their church, my cousins hosted a gentleman from Africa at their home for six months last year. He came to America for medical treatment, something that was to take a couple of months, but complications extended his stay to six months before he was able to return to his country.
He called my cousins Thursday to wish them Happy Thanksgiving. He was with them last Thanksgiving ... he remembered the bountiful feast ... and he called to thank them for all they had done for him and to let them know he had taken this American tradition back to his homeland in Africa.
He comes from what is considered the more well-off in Africa and, yet, he lives in conditions more primitive than the "poor" people in the United States. A shower was a wonder to him because he had never been able to bathe in warm water before ... and the water came readily through the tap. Water in his town is a precious and limited commodity.
Food was another wonder to him because it was so plentiful. When he ate, he ate everything on his plate ... fish bones, shrimp tails, garnishes ... he explained that nothing went to waste where food was scarce.
Walking through Stony Point Shopping Center in Richmond, he stopped in front of the outdoor fountain and marveled at the free-flowing water ... and then looked skyward, held out his arms, and said, "America! Where water is so plentiful it can be wasted!"
To see America through the eyes of someone who does not have it all makes it easy to reevaluate and realize what a wonderful land we live in....