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Posted by yeswedid on September 22, 2017

I wrote about my difficulty with trying to find green bananas (we call it matoke in Uganda) a couple of years back .Earlier This year a friend of mine living in London advised that I can cook the regular bananas available here, before they are ripe. I did that and I am very grateful to God because since then these bananas work as food for me. I no longer eat them ripe, i cook and have them as a meal. With time I keep getting better on how to identify what tastes or comes out better with different types on the market.

Before discovering that these bananas could work as a meal in that way, I had been living here for four years. And in my third year, a dear friend was very helpful to help ship me green bananas from Virginia. In the big cities they have some type of green bananas that are specifically meant for food. Every time I would receive that package I would be filled with so much joy! Only to open the box and half of it would be ripe already! And it was not cheap, but worth it for me. Somewhere along the way me and my other friend were talking and randomly the food topic came up and boom! I asked my husband right away to help me go to the store and get me the bananas so I could try them, and that meal was very good, for better words.

Two days ago I went to HEB (HEB is a grocery store in southern Texas) to buy bananas so I could prepare some lunch. All they had were fully blown ripe bananas so I headed to another HEB in a nearby town, and it was the same story. I drove to a Walmart which was right next, same story. I drove back to my town, to Walmart and all they had were ripe bananas. I drove to another HEB (my number 3 that morning) and I found ripe bananas. A very kind lady working at this HEB told me that the people who cook the bananas usually take the unripe plantain. I told her I had tried plantain once and it didn’t work. But as we talked I decided that this could be the Holy Spirit telling me to try this. So with her help, picked out three pieces of very green plantain and I promised that I will give her feedback on how it turns out for me. It was actually not bad, I will make it part or my meals so I let her know.

I got the plantain walked to the car and left. The moment I parked I realized that I had not paid for the plantain. I laughed, not because it’s funny but I just kept say ‘I just walked out with these and i didn’t pay’. I don’t know what happened but I think having been to four other store, and this being my 5th my mind was tuned to something else. I started thinking how may be this lady who helped me saw me walk out of the store and did not know how to go about it. I went to my local HEB yesterday and talked to one of the people who work there and he said that that’s an honest mistake and I shouldn’t worry about it. This got me thinking how so often we are quick to judge people in situations. Supposing I had gone to the store to pick up just a couple of bananas, steak and lipstick, and I walked straight to my car? I think with these items someone may have come after me. Would they understand that I had no intentions of stealing these items? Has anything similar to this happened to any of you? Please share your experience in the comments. And please let’s not judge anyone, even when we know the entire story. God bless you


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Posted by yeswedid on November 17, 2015

A couple of months ago i went back home to Uganda to visit my family.I had not seen them for a year, so reuniting was so good!It’s a blessing to live here in USA for sure and i’m grateful to God for that. But going back home (i call it home because i was born and raised there until way into my adult years but here is my home now) is good..for better words.

When i go home,i join the millions of other people that use public transport.The means of public transport include commuter taxis, buses bicycles and motorcycles.The motorcycles are quite risky because most of the drivers are reckless especially in and around the city center.They do a lot of maneuvering in traffic and if not that, they drive way too fast!But they, and the commuter taxis were some of my main means of transport.

It can be irritating, funny,annoying, it, using public transport in Uganda.It’s best to try not let any of the negative emotions come through.I had to try that almost everyday,sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t. But each day i had a story when i got to my destination or when i went back home at the end of the day.I’m going to share some of those stories.

I’m on my way to the hospital to check on a sick relative. I wasn’t very sure where to get off at, so i ask a guy seated next to me for help. He told me where to get off from and asked if he can get off with me.Wait what?!He said that he can get off with me if i want him to.At that point i wanted to laugh out loud..literally but i did my best to suppress it.I told him no, it wasn’t necessary.He asked for my cell phone number so we could meet later.I told him i was married and he said he didn’t mind.I gave him “a number” and he got out his phone to call it so i could get his number.At that point i told him my battery was dead so the phone was off. He said he would call in a couple of hours for sure.It wasn’t long before i had to get off,and i burst out and laughed!!!

I visited my relative in the hospital for a couple of days,and this was a few days before i had to leave so i tried to maximize my last days with her.So still on another trip there,in a commuter taxi (the seating capacity for these is a maximum of 14 passengers but usually during rush hour they will exceed that number to about 19 passengers).This wasn’t full to capacity so was the one in the story above.There’s two passenger seats next to the driver in the front.Only one seat was occupied by a female passenger.I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation.She had started off by asking the driver for directions of where she was going(this is very common in Uganda).He attempted to direct her but in the process starts to tell her that he can drop off all the passengers at their final destinations and be her chauffeur.That he basically could drop her there and wait for her and take her wherever else she wanted to go..hmm mm..She kept telling him she had to be there at  a certain time so waiting on him to do the drop off wouldn’t work for her.

But she seemed receptive to his suggestion.As i secretly watched i kept saying to her silently, DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT!i had to get off.I will never know if she did or not.Either way i hope she was safe,because i think it’s quite risky to go with a stranger just like that.And there’s many kind men in the world out there but women have got to be cautious.Oh and men too:)

The countless times since cell phones became popular in Uganda is when you are in a taxi or restaurant, market or out somewhere and someone answers their phone and goes “hello…i’m stuck in traffic..i’m at home sick.. i’m in a meeting..” all sorts of lies you can possibly think of. Sometimes i have felt like asking these people why  are telling lies(yes i know it’s none of my business) and other times i have felt like screaming!But i have always left it at that;feelings.


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Posted by yeswedid on April 16, 2014

It’s been almost a year since I moved here, and a couple of months ago I started working…yeeee! The very first day I went looking I was hired. I work as a waitress in one of the big chain restaurants here and boy it’s such a blessing to have a job. I had not done this kind of job before but I got training before I started. The first day of training was 8hrs of being on my feet and at the end of that day my feet seemed like they couldn’t walk me the 15mnutes journey back home. But somehow with the grace of God we made it home.

Following day was the same, still 8hrs on my feet and the next day. For those first days, I used to wonder if I could really make it through this job. I mean I would be so tired and worn out! But I would look around me, at my workmates and they seemed to be handling the job well…and I would talk to myself that I too could do it especially with God on my side. So day after day I gained more ground on my duties, it did not take me long to start enjoying my job and before long I looked forward to going to work.

Work is quite different from Uganda where I come from. For example one of my first jobs there was in a Christian bookstore as a sales assistant. If a customer didn’t need or want my assistance I was free to sit and even pick up a book from the shelves and read. Customers would walk in and browse and if they were looking for something and didn’t find it then they would ask for my or anyone else’s help. Here every store I enter, I’m welcomed, greeted (even if most of it seems out of duty) and asked if there’s any help I need to find something. If I say know, I’m still encouraged to ask later in case I need any help.

I’m bringing about that background to say that here when you are at work, you are on your feet in a job like mine from when you enter until you clock out. In Uganda you can sit, talk on your phone even when there’s a customer who could use your help. Customer care is lacking a lot there. It’s different here and I’m learning quite a lot from this experience.


It’s not all smooth in this job though, just like any other job. For example you go to welcome guests and introduce yourself as their server. Some of them before you even finish introducing yourself they have told you what they want to drink, without even looking at you. It leaves me wondering, but in this business I learn each day not to take things personal. Some you smile warmly and welcome them and they look at you stone Others are so warm and cracking up jokes with me, and asking where I come from…and generally interested in knowing more about their “international” server. This category really makes my day!


Some have told me that I look like Lupita Nyongo (12 years of a slave) but I don’t think so. Before many of them ask me where I’m from they take guesses and the most guess is the Caribbean..mostly Jamaica. This actually make me really laugh because I do not sound like a Jamaican at all (I wish) but in terms of looks I guess I could pass for one because I’m black. Some have guessed Somalia (I’m laughing out loud writing this line because when I told my husband he couldn’t stop laughing), I do not look like a Somali at all! Well at least not to me. I don’t have the features really. But bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter what the guests’ guesses are, in fact I like it when they guess because no one has got it right yet. I think only one guest got it right. It’s all part of what makes my job fun and exciting.

My feet and legs are somehow used to standing for over 7hrs, even though by the end of it all I’m really tired. But with God I take each day by the horns and as I go on in my shift with my workmates I keep saying to myself “I can do this” with God strengthening me! I’m enjoying my first work experience in this country for sure and I thank God for the opportunity! So many stories to tell when I go home this summer. Can you please share with me briefly your work or just experiences from another country? I would appreciate that..thanks! oops! I almost forgot, I’m told almost every day that I have a beautiful accent. My Ugandan accent is beautiful!ooooohhhhImage

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Posted by yeswedid on July 28, 2013

My husband and i recently moved from a tropical climate, which consisted of nice sunny days, beautiful green lash vegetation (among other things), to a dry desert. I had never lived in a desert. This is quite a big change for me, in all aspects. But I will start with the food (I like my food)
I knew this would be one of my main challenges especially in the start. Take the water for example. It is safe to drink direct from the facet but even when it’s purified I taste something in it. I like drinking hot water but I still taste something in the water even when I boil it. I’m still drinking bottled water here in the USA, yet in Uganda I used to just boil the water without purifying it and it tasted like ‘normal water’. In order to avoid waterborne diseases, we do not have the luxury to drink water before boiling it.
Some of the people I know from Uganda, who live in other parts of USA have told me that they have food markets that sell some of the food from home. Matoke (it’s a type of green bananas) is my favorite. In Uganda if I spent a day without it, I really missed it. Now I have not had it in over two months. I tried to look for green bananas from Mexico, which one of my friends said is the closest I can get to matoke where I am, but every store showed me plantain. Really? Plantain! I come from Uganda and I know plantain. We grow plantain. I have ate it all my life- mindlessly. Now it’s one of my favorites here, it’s one of the foods that reminds of Uganda.
These friends are very helpful. Always telling me what to try out in terms of food that will be close to what we have at home. And last week I spoke to a friend’s friend. I have never met him but a friend gave him my number. My friend who gave my number lives in Europe, but she cares about me so very much. So among other things, her friend recommended ‘yuca’. It’s a type of cassava from Mexico. He had told me that it is as good as we have in Uganda. They were very right! When I tasted it, immediately I got on the phone calling him and my other Ugandan friends here! I could not contain my excitement about how this was exactly what we get in Uganda!
So far I have sort of given up the search for matoke, and doing my best to eat what is available. Plantain has become part of what I eat more than once a week, and of course yuca. And I’m doing pretty good. Like back home there’s a variety of vegetables here or even more. And even if they are all not organic (there’s organic food of course but costs more) like back home, I like the variety. Wish me luck in my search for ‘my’ matoke! And if you have experiences in trying to adjust with anything away from your country, please share with me.

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Posted by yeswedid on January 18, 2013

I’m not quite sure that the above subject is proper for what I’m about to write, but I guess it will work. Spent some minutes trying to figure out what subject to use; things like “stresses of life”, “life’s struggles” and so on came up but they still didn’t seem fit. Regardless, I’m sure what I’m trying to write will come out.
I take interest in people and things, but especially people. I observe people, no matter what I’m doing; at the grocery store, at the restaurant, while I drive, while on the bus, in airports…and I like it. Sometimes I get to see a couple or family really enjoying their time together say at a restaurant having a meal and it real warms my heart. It makes me sad in the same measure when I see a couple or people having some sort of argument, sick, sad, loss of a loved one.. when I can real tell that something is going on.
Where we live (Kampala-Uganda) there’s a big piece of land which belongs to a government office in charge of pensions. I don’t know how they do it but it seems they have let people who live in nearby areas to farm on it. So people have portions where they plant different things mostly sweet potatoes, maize and cassava. From where I see these gardens, I’m not able to see any form of demarcation so I wonder how they know whose garden is whose (I’m sure they do).
At about 6:45am the family that has a portion near our house is already in the garden. I have seen kids aged between 6months-7years. They are usually with their mother, I think they are 6 kids. January is one of the months with high temperatures and by 8am it is already about 230c and about 28.30c from 12pm onwards. It gets really hot, but the kids and their mum don’t leave the garden until about 2pm. Kids being kids, and babies being babies there’s fighting and crying. The younger kids who may be are about 4 and 3 and a half years take turns at babysitting their two little siblings (a set of twins) who are I think about 6months.the older ones are assigned to work from where they get there to quitting time. They obviously get tired, hungry and hot. When they fight and argue their mother shouts at them and beats them. She gets on to the older kids more because they should know better. I don’t know how because these kids seem like stair steps! I mean even the older kids are so young!
But I do understand where she is coming from, I mean in that heat working so hard in the garden I don’t know how I could go about it. Even as I watch them (I so they can’t see me from where I am) I kind of get a guilty feeling. Mostly because sometimes it’s during school term and they are out there digging, meaning that the kids that are due for school don’t go because their parents can’t afford it. Working in the garden is ok, we did it as children but on weekends and holidays because we were in school. So my heart goes out to these kids wondering what sort of future they will have.
In the evenings if I go to the grocery store or coming back home from wherever, there’s small boys and girls aged between 5-8years standing at the roadside from the grocery store and around the neighborhood carrying baskets with cooked maize. They are selling the maize to earn a living, but I wonder how much money they take home to their parents or if they sell all the maize. Again, I get the guilty feeling to live the life I’m living knowing very well that I could have easily been one of those kids. I mean my background is very humble but by the grace of God I didn’t do what these kids are doing but I still feel for them. But when I’m in that moment, I get to thank God for giving them the health and energy and bravery to do what they do. And what gets me more…(I don’t have the right word for these emotions) is waiting for the local news at 7pm and story after story of billions and billions STOLEN by government workers. I get feelings of wanting to throw up, to storm the president’s office to scream…and many times before the news is even done power goes off. The power company in this country is not able to supply power for 24hrs straight. In the last week, It is off a total of 16hrs out of 24hrs. I won’t even go into that. It’s not important to this story (stories).
From my day to day observations, life gets real hard for so many people around this country and in the work generally. I think that is why when I see happy people I take the opportunity to be happy in that moment too, but I find important to me to share in people sadness (I know it may sound weird to some of you but that’s me) and where I can reach out, I try to go out of my way to.

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Posted by yeswedid on July 17, 2012

Traveling is one of the things I enjoy. Going to completely new environments, meeting new people, trying to learn their culture, these are some of the reasons why I like to travel. I live in Uganda, I was born and raised here. This country is beautiful, really. But it’s not developed; it is referred to as a third world country. So getting a visa to go to the ‘first world’ countries, you are to show the embassy that you have a life here (in your country) good enough to return after your visit.

I thank God that I got the visa. And that I went and came back, though I have no right to pass judgment on whoever goes and decides not to return even without the right paperwork. To each their own. For so long I looked forward to an opportunity to visit America! It is such a huge contrast to my country. Things there work different, even people work different!

The customer service; being warmly welcomed in the stores,  the way people smile at you in the! This is unheard of in Uganda, where people just drag their feet to give you any sort of service (if they serve you at all!). I knew that I would find things different here, but hearing about it from someone else is one thing,  and personal experience is totally another. For example some people had told me that people in America are very busy and always in a rush to get to their next appointment that you cannot ask for say directions from anyone.

 That is not entirely true. Busy and seeming in a rush, yes but on several occasions me and my husband were able to ask for directions and the people were more than willing to help. I like it when people make the effort to make small talk, and it was good when say after shopping at Wal-Mart the cashier would ask how we are doing, or if we found everything ok (the latter is used a lot in the stores in America). In Uganda, a cashier at a supermarket or a bank saying hullo to you seems so much for them, and if they do it’s rare that you will get a smile. The few that do it are doing it out of duty and you can tell.

 At fast food restaurants, it is actually fast! Now I know what Lee (that is my husband’s name) put up with waiting for service in our ‘fast food’ places where you wait for over 30 minutes. service at restaurants like Texas Road House (my favorite),was very fast too. From when the  waiter/waitress welcomes you, taking your order, walking  away, coming back with your drinks and food, to finally bringing the check, it’s all done fast! Then the my! By faith and grace, I have hope that someday we will have buildings and roads, well planned like what I saw in America.  For example the interstate highway system is so organized and efficient. I most definitely would enjoy driving here.

 Lee and I did several road trips to different states. There are several rest areas, with very clean restrooms, running water, toilet paper and hand washing soap. I actually looked forward to the road trips because it was so much fun driving on roads with no potholes, drinking water and not worrying if I will get a (clean) toilet.

We went in June, summer was on. Sometimes temperatures would be 100, the lowest I saw while we there was in the 80s. I had never experienced such heat (I’m sure i will say the same about winter). Most times when I got out of the car, I would run to the spot where we are going so as to get out of the heat and cool down. The great thing is that I did not go any place with no working AC. Uganda’s temperatures do not get any where that high, and AC is an expensive luxury here. Even if it was affordable, we get power cuts for different reasons throughout the day. Like today, it went off at 9am and its past 1pm.

I had a great and blessed time, and I’m very grateful to God for making it happen. I will write more about this trip in part two. Political discussions, being the only person of color (read black) in restaurants on several occasions, buying ‘made in china’ in America among others. Thank you for taking time to read. God bless you:)

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Posted by yeswedid on June 27, 2011

On Friday afternoon, I was heading to an office in one of the buildings in the city centre. I was with one of my friends, and the office we were headed to had a staircase. As we started climbing up, there was a couple of guys coming down and one of them was saying {with gestures}, “give way, give way”. I told him off! I was like “come on! Why are you being rude!! How can you ask us to give way, keep on your side and we will do the same, you cannot just order us around…”

 So he sort of stood and I passed him, and in that moment, I looked up and I saw Hon. Edward Sekandi, the vice president of Uganda! Hahahahahaha!! Ok.. obviously I felt embarrassed as I was now face to face with him. I reached my hand and went something like..”hullo!!! I’m so sorry!! I had no idea it was you they were trying to make way for…I’m so sorry sir”. I think he is quite a humble guy {at least that is what he portrayed to me in that moment}, and he kept saying that it’s ok. I stressed to him that the guys that “make” way for people like him  are quite rude. I said that to him twice, kind of making sure he doesn’t miss my point. I also thanked him for the good work he is doing for this country {i was sounding like a journalist trying to get an appointment for an interview with a politician}.

 In total it was like 60seconds and a lot was running through my mind! From wanting to tell him that I’m a journalist, to pulling out the camera in my purse and asking my friend to take a picture of me and him {I don’t think the body guards would let me…to telling him that I have not had any luck {yet} with finding a job in my profession, and ask him if he could help {hmmm}. But I did not. I hope that his guards saw how humble he was with me, and next time {if ever there’s one}, they will know that I’m quite hard to ‘give way’, even to the vice president.

My friend and I couldn’t stop laughing about it for like 30minutes. Oh how I wish I had the opportunity there and then to talk to him about what I really feel about things in Uganda, like leadership, roads, riots and more! To just talk to him even if it was off record so I could get his opinion{s}. Well, well, I’m sure he got to see a bit of my aggressive side. I wonder if he will remember me in case I get a job in the media and I got a chance to meet him again in my line of work. I will remind him and see if he does.

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Posted by yeswedid on April 28, 2011

Living in this part of the world is not easy on a number of fronts. There many times when almost everything is going wrong. For example the bad roads, the transport system, the condition in which the public buses are in, the VERY regular power cuts….believe me the list is long.

Due to all the above, it’s easy to get worked up and stressed. But unlike our friends in the western world {the first world}, we are more resilient, and I have a few friends who agree to this. They are amazed at how we are able to even have a smile on our faces with all this going on! Oh by the way, I’m without power, so was Easter Monday {from 11.45am-11am the following day}, and yesterday {Wednesday for like 2hours}. It’s been off for over an hour and it seems it may be off for a long time. I won’t even go there, I mean talk about the power.

Personally, I try to always find a way to keep my head high in all this. I have a radio on my mobile phone, and BBC world service is my favorite station so I listen to it as I go about. I also play music in case I do not have a clear signal of the radio. But most of the public buses have radios too and people like to listen to political talk shows, especially in the evening as they return home. I can’t stand these shows! So I listen to my radio on the phone, only problem is that I can still hear what is on the radio on the bus clearly!!!arrgghh!! But those are the joys of using public transport, and it also has its upside, still you choose how to let it affect you. I always get cracked up at say the way people talk freely and loud about personal issues on their mobile phones, how two people talk about another person, how people get mad when they bus does not stop when they say they are alighting..

Tuesday night had very heavy traffic coming from town (but this is typical}. It is actually very annoying on this particular spot because there’s traffic lights but traffic police takes control and you can be stopped for like 40minutes {that’s right-40minutes! Come to Kampala, you will witness it}. So there I was on the bus, angry, trying to listen to music on my phone, the radio on the bus is so loud with a political show {opposition insisting they will “walk- to- work” as a way to put pressure on the government to cut fuel and food prices, police saying they will stop them…}. There we are, stopped, waiting, and the radio station {in the bus} takes a break for special announcements. Somewhere in the middle of the announcement I hear this..”haji {name withheld} informs the members of this…. clan and whoever is concerned that he has come to the realization that the children {the names were of a boy and a girl} are not his children. And from this day forward, he ceases to be their father, and they his children. Okay!!! This was a first! Yes, I have heard stories of people finding out through DNA that a child they thought they had fathered, it turns out different. On radio, I had never heard it. It got almost all the people on the bus laughing, including yours truly! And a discussion began, people wondering what sort of man can do that, I did not get involved, I usually don’t on the bus, besides I was busy trying to contain my laughter.

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Posted by yeswedid on February 24, 2011

Sometime back I wrote about the trash and garbage that is on the streets of kampala, the Ugandan capital. Yesterday, I was passing by a Barclays bank branch, near the old taxi park {a place where buses for public transport park} and these are the pictures I took. This was around 10:30am,Tuesday 22nd 2011.Obviously, nothing has changed, if anything ,it seems to be getting worse.

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Posted by yeswedid on January 6, 2011

Uganda is going to have presidetial and parliamentary elections on 18 February 2011. Since the campaigns started there have been reports of different forms of violence. According to news reports, these acts target members of the opposition parties. Some of these parties formed a coalition;  the Inter- Party Cooperation {IPC}, and one of these parties is Forum for Democratic Change{FDC}, Conservative Party {CP} and a number of others. IPC chose Kiiza Besigye {also the Chairman of FDC} as their candidate for president in the 18 February 2011 elections. The incumbent president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is also contesting in this election, on the National Resistance Party {NRM} card. He is also the Chairman for the  NRM.

These  acts include; intimidating supporters of the opposition candidates, tearing and burning their posters, and destroying property. One such candidate in one of Kampala {the capital city} suburbs, his business {a bar}, and two of his vehicles were set ablaze. This morning, one of the local dailies carries a headline story of a candidate contesting for the parliamentary seat for Masaka {a district in the southern part of Uganda} whose house was set on fire on Tuesday {into Wednesday morning} night. And unlike other candidates who have fallen victims to these acts, this is an indepedent candidate. Thank God he and his family had abandoned that house, because he was being threatened. He says he filed a complaint with police, but….

A lot of blame is pointed towards the candidates of the National Resistance Movement {NRM} who are contesting for the same seats,  the opposition parties’ candidates. Question is, this recent act in Masaka of an independent candidate, who is behind it? Most people I talk to seem to be on the edge, not knowing what to expect come 18 February 2011. And if you think about it, there’s cause to worry. It’s accusations and counter accusations. Ivocy Coast is still unsettled, and it’s from such stories that people wonder how their fate is going to be.

While you are still pondering the { very near} future of your country, you watch the news of the assassination of the Punjab governor Salman Taseer. He was fighting for a good and noble cause, for reform of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Sometimes I wonder if it’s best to “switch off”, not to read the papers, not to listen,read, or watch news as a way to protect ourselves from all the bad things going on around us and the world. I don’t think that is easy though, as a journalist by profession, I yearn for information and I crave to know what is going on around me. I pray and hope that the world will one day {soon} get past all these cruel acts of violence, selfishness, unreasonable anger for power{ouch}, so that there can be peace, just as God intended us to live.

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