The smell of cinnamon toast light as the butter wafted through the air. I pulled the downy comforter over my shoulders and drifted back to sleep, folding my body into the warmth of home. The room was wrapped in a fragrant bouquet of lavender and Iris, blooming just beyond my reach. Grama Elva stood hanging the wash out to dry, picking clothes pins from her neatly pressed apron pockets, her silver hair arranged in swirls high on her head. A single cloud puffed past a pristine Idaho sky as if to call me back once again.

I peered out of one eye forcing myself to fight jet lag and exhaustion and to face what had now become our new reality. The same rancid smell of fumigation and dead cockroaches greeted me and my mind raced to the night before. I struggled to turn on my side, scooting little Foof away from me and onto a vacant piece of blanket. I moved my hands into a paw like position that would enable me to sit and balance my pregnant belly. Bits and pieces of the night before drifted back, the crunch underfoot, hundreds of dead cockroaches in the parking area, the gaping holes in each room next to single brown plastic windows, but mostly the lack of furniture and basic necessities that had been implied. I slowly stood and straightened out my body, daring to survey what was now our new home. I roamed around the villa in the light of day hoping that I had not seen things clearly upon arrival and that my view had been obstructed by unrealistic dreams of a new and different life. Every line on the walls, each crack through the plywood but more importantly a lack of clean water and food stood glaringly before me.

Tape lay strewn on the black carpet along with shreds of paper towel that had been used as wrapping for odds and ends that had been tucked away into boxes. A large piece of plywood was loosely positioned over a gaping hole, secured with nails where an air conditioner would be placed, but was not.  Light streamed through the cracks that lead to the outside world and a forbidden street plagued with danger. I walked a few steps to loosen up my legs and feet, patterns and blotches from the rough carpeting stung my arms and legs.

The walls were painted a dull beige, specks of brown and darker hues of tan made a dotted pattern over the entire room. Faint lines eerily traced the walls where chairs, couches and an entertainment center had once stood. It signaled a strange surreal atmosphere and highlighted the desperate circumstances in which we now lived. A family much like ours had once walked through these rooms, children sat working on homework and parents watched evening t.v., end tables and possibly a hutch were outlined on the opposite end of the room. Now only 4 small beings lay on the brown blanket that was thrown into one of the boxes at the last minute, a silly notion that such basic necessities might not be provided.

I wandered through the villa looking for any sign that this place was meant for habitation, but not a chair, bed or table were to be found. The kitchen door hung open exposing an empty space tiled in pink, grout stained and smudged. The same brown plastic window and gaping hole held their place high in the corner next to a water heater. At the end of the room stood the only furnishings in the kitchen, a sink surrounded by a counter top. I looked around for any food, water or signs of a real home fit for a family of 6.  A single plastic sack sat on the kitchen counter, inside were 4 small bottles of water and a tiny container of melted mango ice cream.


These are pictures that I shared with you back in the beginning of the blog. I was ashamed to show our true living conditions and so I cropped the pictures and showed only parts. Now I am stronger and can share the whole pictures with you.


Osama and his baby brother


Our sleeping pads and my first child born in Saudi. Three pads were finally purchased for myself and 5 children.


Osama goofing around standing on a chair by the counter. The brown window is the type that each room had.