Love in Harsh Places – November writing competition announced

by Rod Smith

It is counter-intuitive, I know......

I want to see where you saw love in action.... in a harsh or troubled environment

My reading has repeatedly led me to the theme of Love in Harsh Places. Not only is this a common literary theme, I am reminded of it on a daily basis with work I am exposed to around the world.

Bethany O’Conner, an American social worker in Cape Town, exemplifies this in her work with the Baby Safe program (see http://www.TheBabySafe.org). Glenwood High School’s Marshall McKenna and is wife Larisa, against all odds, have built a rehabilitation center for former street children in Campina, Romania. Elisabeth Harness, with Humphrey Waweru, pioneered a home for babies in Nairobi, Kenya. I could go on and on….

During November I request readers to tell me of “Love in Harsh Places”. Where have you encountered love when you least expected it or from an unexpected source? Use 200 words. Submit by November 30th, 2010. The winner gets a R200 gift card for Exclusive Books. Place “Love in Harsh Places” in the subject line. I will publish the winning submission early in December and others that catch my eye as I receive them.

(USA winner will receive a $30 gift card. If you win and you are from neither the USA or South Africa, I will work out the equivalent prize for you where ever you reside!)

One Comment to “Love in Harsh Places – November writing competition announced”

  1. “Love in Harsh Places”.. When my three sons were young teenagers we sometimes used to drive to an open and vacant piece of ground near Addington Beach in Durban, South Africa. The main attraction there was that they could drive the car around and inbetween great bushes, and hopefully avoid being detected by the law for under age driving. Right near to this vacant lot was a home for the local down and outs, called quite faceciously “The Ark”. It was a derelict old warehouse, full of wind tunnels,holes and dripping roofs, with large galvanised baths catching the plopping rain, or bathing a newly admitted grimy toddler,in the collected water. On the day in question, one of my sons had taken advantage of a very blustery, rainy downpour, and had gleefully driven halfway through a large and substantially deep puddle. I said half way, as that is the exact spot that the car stalled…The engine just would not turn over at all. We stood there in dismay. What should we do now? Our dismay rapidly turned to concern, then fear, as through the gloomy mist, we saw a Very Suspicious Sort of Dirty Man walking towards us. As it was in the days before cell phones, we didn’t have to worry about that, but I was most concerned about my children being hurt, and worried about the car being forcefully removed from our possession. As he drew nearer, we seemed to huddle closer, not sure at all what he was up to. Imagine our embarassment when he offered to help us, and proceeded to clean something in the engine with his shirt, which looked as if it had done this job recently as well. Within minutes he had us pushing strenuously and soon the car began revving and coughing, and then began purring and drove off a way. I know what you are thinking, and NO, he didn’t steal the car, but waited for us to catch up, smiling broadly. My sons started thanking him and a conversation began, during which we learned that he, like many homeless people was intelligent, but had opted out of the main stream of humanity for reasons of his own. He told us that he had a Grandmother who had taught him that we were put here to help one another, and that love makes the world go around. Looking,sheepishly into his eyes, at last, I saw a very good soul in there, one who had given us all two very good lessons that evening. One that he had fixed a strangers car, with no wish for money, and secondly that it taught us all not to judge a book by its cover. And that there are angels everywhere, some possibly living in the Ark. Thank You Man.

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