Until We Couldn’t Run Anymore

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I carefully bag the bananas as we exchange good-byes. As I make a note of the purchase, I hear the backfire of a car down the street. Just like that, I find myself reliving the nightmare.

Through the smell of smoke and the sound of gunshots, I saw the fear on my children’s faces. Run!

Stumbling over bloody bodies,
we ran from the war that was
tearing our country apart.

We ran until we couldn’t run anymore.

And then we walked—all 2,300 miles from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa. For three months, we walked. And in my heart, I walked toward hope.

We arrived in South Africa with swollen feet and empty hands. Safe from the fighting, we now battled to survive in a foreign land. Johannesburg is not an easy place to live, especially for a refugee.

With nothing but fragments of hope and wavering faith, we began building a new life. I started my fruit and vegetable stand along a busy road in the bustling city.

Every morning, as the sun creeps its way across the sidewalk to the edge of my little stand, I sit and soak in its warmth. I look down at my feet, permanently swollen from our trek to South Africa. They’re a poignant reminder of a miraculous journey.

And I breathe out my daily prayer of gratefulness—and I smile.

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