After 168 straight days under the African sun, I welcomed the cold drizzle in Paris and the biting winds in Dublin as I made my way home to Chicago for the holidays. I was bombarded with hugs at the front door from people whose voices had soothed me from afar and kept catching my father staring at me with a look of disbelief — I was really home. The kitchen was overflowing with delicacies I hadn’t tasted in 24 weeks and I allowed the comforts of home to consume me, as they often do when I return from a trip.
No sooner had I settled into life at home than thoughts of Hohoe began to surface. I tried to keep my mind from racing as I lay in bed each night, but I couldn’t silence the women’s morning songs, Mama Christie’s shy giggle, or Aggie’s raspy 2-year-old voice calling my name. The sounds, sights, and smells flooded my brain as I wondered how life could go on in Hohoe in my absence.
Now I’m back and nothing has changed. The Della seamstresses are still the most beautiful human beings on earth (just glance at the photo, and you’ll see), the neighbor kids are still little rascals, and lunch at my favorite place in town is still mouthwateringly delicious. I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring for Della.