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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)

TITLE: Intoxicating Beauty of the People
By Kathy Bruins


The air was filled with the richness of vanilla, cloves, and ylang-ylang. The bride looked beautiful as she ascended the stairs dressed in a sky blue, jeweled pattern gown with a large head covering that looked like a combination of beautiful floral cloth and island flowers. Her wrists held dozens of bangle bracelets along with the artistic décor of henna painted on her wrists and hands. Her eyes shimmered with happiness in the coming event. Her face displayed white designs painted outside of her eyes, on her nose and on both cheeks. The week of festivities well underway for this glorious event. The Comorian people celebrate life with such zest; you forget that they are one of the poorest countries in the world. Shouldn’t they be sad and depressed? They don’t have the modern conveniences that I do in the U.S.

Upon my arrival to Domoni, a town on the island of Anjouan, another world was opened to me. The beauty of the island captivated my mind as I scanned the stunning coastline with dark, sandy beaches complimenting the aqua blue waters of the Indian Ocean. On the horizon, misty-covered mile-high peaks silhouette the clear skies. There were no hotels or restaurants, very few cars or telephones…none of the cultural conveniences that I have taken for granted. Yet this intoxicating island lured me out of needing those things.

Since my arrival on the islands to help them educationally, they have showered me with gifts of beautiful items and delicious foods they have made during my stay. Joy is expressed in giving to the guest, no matter what little they have in life. I have always felt welcome wherever I traveled in this area. Their family would go without while I would be given the best portion of rice. To turn down their graciousness would dishonor them.

How often have I given all I had to honor someone else…and have been full of joy doing so? My culture is expressed in the things that we have, the items we hold on to so tightly that we choke ourselves off from the freedom of being able to let them go and focus on what is really important in life. True joy is felt in giving to others without hesitation. The Comorian people have taught me so much about living life in celebration of what I can do for others. Their spirit matched the intoxicating beauty of the island. This precious gift I will use as a fragrant offering to the Lord as I live in celebration of giving freely…just like Jesus.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dave Wagner02/16/05
A wonderful piece, with a terrific after-taste (if you will). I enjoyed reading it, as it was well-presented, and nicely polished, plus it had something of worth to say. Nice to see all of those ingredients.

Kinda surprised that this hasn't received any comments yet. This is well-worthy of its place in this category. Thanks for posting it.
donna robinson02/20/05
It's great to read a piece that let's us see another part of the world; to know that a simple life has so many blessings. The only thing I would change in the piece is a different adjective than beautiful;I think when it's used once, another one is needed to help us expand the imagery. Such wonderful thoughts and feelings expressed here.