It was my first time attending an African funeral.

My South African husband and I drove nine hours to be there. We arrived at the family compound in the township late at night.

A thick canopy of grief hung over the property.

The next morning, I woke up and walked outside to brush my teeth. The only water source was a single faucet on the exterior wall, which emptied into a drain in the ground.

No sink.

I was almost three months pregnant with our first child, and still experiencing a fair share of morning sickness. Before I could even make it to the tap, I was greeted by a row of cousins, each with a plastic tray on their laps. “Morning!” they smiled. To my shock, on each tray was a sheep’s head — eyes glazed over, limp tongue sticking out. The cousins sat with flat razor blades in hand, shaving off the sheep’s hair.

The odor was pungent. A wave of nausea swept over me. 

I returned the greeting and covered my mouth, rounding the corner of the house to escape the animals’ stares and smells. Around the bend were more cousins, elbows deep in huge metal bowls filled with sheep intestines. They spoke cheerful hellos as pesky flies swarmed around.



I was keenly aware that I was a stranger in a foreign land.





I’m honored to be guest posting over at Emily Wierenga’s site today, in anticipation of the release of her new memoir, Making it Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity and Purpose.

Click here to read the rest of this story, about how I found “home” in an unlikely setting, thanks to a dear sister who welcomed me as her own.

Emily’s latest book is now available! Click here to order your copy of this sequel to her first memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look.


Disclosure: Affiliate links used.