All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. Psalm 45:8
Date of original journal entry: December 2009
The open markets in Sierra Leone are quite the experience. People, voices, colors, animals, chaos. To me it’s rather fun. But then there are the many smells, raw and pungent. Rotting fruit, dirt, endless smoke, open sewers, potent palm wine, throngs of sweaty bodies. The meat stalls; the fish, both fresh and smoked. Garbage everywhere. They all combine and mingle to make one overwhelming, unforgettable odor.
As we learn to make our way through the market, we generally know where to go to get what we need and have largely gotten used to the sights and smells of the market mingling in with the rest of the crowd, well, as much as two whites in West Africa are able.
But then, on occasion, my olfactory perceptions are startled out of the routine. Something sweet and refreshing has arrested my attention: oranges. Women sitting on short stools with baskets of oranges peel away just the outer skin leaving the white pith attached to the flesh. These are sold as a kind of primitive juice box. You firmly squeeze your orange, rather like massaging it, and thus release the juice which remains contained within the pith. You then bite off the end and suck out the juice while continuing to squeeze.
The delightful aroma is an oasis in the midst of the filth of the market. Their sweetness rises above even the most foul odor.
And isn’t that just like our Lovely Lord Jesus? Even a touch of the hem of his garment can relieve the heartaches of life. Leaning on his everlasting arms, encircled by his perfumed robe is the very place of comfort, peace, and contentment despite the chaos happening all around.