When life hands you strange lemons, make lemonade
When I moved to the US in spring 2017 for a short-term consulting gig, I got a new telephone number. I found that when I switched my WhatsApp account over to this new number, I inherited the contacts of the number's previous owner.
Who was this mysterious owner? Her name is Eme and she currently lives in Florida but she is from central sub-Saharan Africa. She receives texts in both English and Portuguese.
While I ignored many of the messages I received that were directed at Eme, I let some of her contacts know that the number could no longer be used to reach her. A few of these people have become friends of sorts.
One is Tschifembe, an ambitious man from the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) who spent years living with his family on the coast of Mozambique before emigrating to the US.
A second one is Bosco, a Rwandan refugee who has spent the last 16 years living in the Dzaleko Refugee Camp in Malawi.
I chat with both regularly over WhatsApp, comparing our days, our spiritual beliefs, our moods, our plans for the future.