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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)

TITLE: All For Free
By Tendi Rice


Though the shop had nothing more than empty shelves, I walked from one isle to the next, desperately hoping that I would be able to get something for dinner. The kids had each survived on barely more than a slice of bread for the past week. They did not complain because they knew it would yield nothing. Of late, Mizzi my youngest spent most of her time in bed, probably because she was weak from hunger. Besides, it’s not like there was much else for her to do.

Today I would surprise them with a big meal, seeing as I had managed to hassle a fiver from the streets. With my hands tightly clutched around the only money I owned, three dollar bills that were torn and tattered, not surprising given how I had earned them, I thought about how I was going to spend indulgently and spoil them. The loaf of bread and a can of sardines I was hoping to get would definitely be a treat and I could not wait to see their faces when they came round to the dinner table to find more than just a slice of bread.

I realized it was getting dark now and so I needed to hurry up and make my way home. The streets were never safe, not even in daytime, so after dark was like a death sentence. I met a shop attendant, who was seated on a store shelf, seemingly bored to death from having nothing to do. I stopped to ask him where I would be able to get the few bits I needed, but he signaled with his hand that I should keep moving and not disturb him, without so much as giving me a second look. He must have grown tired of people asking him the same questions of where to get commodities, with very little he could do. The store was obviously empty and under stocked; a combination of some looting and the sad effects of the raging war. Another lady who noticed the encounter was nice enough to help, "There is nothing besides candy bars by the tills, rumor has it there is a delivery tomorrow if you wanna try then," she mentioned as she walked by. I thanked her for the help and scurried off to make my way home.

Sadly, I knew tomorrow I would not get any goods. After a delivery more looters came and the army sometimes even raided the store. The locals could only buy the leftovers, which is what I had hoped to stumble upon. This was the largest store in town and if they could barely keep afloat, it was unlikely to get food any place else. The International helping Aids brought food once a month, but even that was not certain you would get some.

I walked home hurriedly, eager to get home before the sunset. As I entered the front door of our home, disappointed and downcast, I dreaded the thought of telling the kids it would be another night on a hungry stomach. I felt tears streaming down my face as I made a silent Prayer of desperation, "Why Lord?” I uttered. Before I could close the door behind me, Mizzi came like a bolt of lightning speeding towards me and gave me a big bear hug. Surprised to see her up and so happy, I opened my mouth with a million questions to ask, "Mummy,” she started before I could say a word, “The school gave us a loaf of bread and a can of sardines each" she said, hardly able to contain her excitement. With tears still streaming down my face, I muttered a Prayer of thanks under my breath; the Lord had already done my groceries for me; all for free!

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This article has been read 285 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/23/12
Wow - powerful gripping and heart-wrenching. I thought this was prolific in statement and cleverly crafted. Nicely done.

Thank you. God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/23/12
This is a sweet story. Though this type of story is quite common this week you still were able to intrigue me and make me think how fortunate I am and how my worries seem silly compared to many in other parts of the world.

I noticed a couple of tiny typos like hassle instead of hussle Great job of storytelling and isle (which means island) and aisle. A challenge buddy might help you catch those typos.

You did a nice job of writing on topic while really opening the reader's eyes to the world we can't or won't always see. This is a nice piece of writing.
Genia Gilbert08/25/12
This is touching and has a good message. You did a good job of showing the need and the way God supplied it -- and all for free!
C D Swanson 08/31/12
Congrats...God bless