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The dangerous sun peered over the vast horizon as Naaman made his way through the dunes of Ghanzni, Afghanistan. Today, he was traveling to the marketplace, which was only about four hours away. Naaman struggled to maintain his balance as his two mules eagerly picked up the pace. He couldn’t see much into the distance because of the heavy fog, but was grateful for the cool morning. It was only 6:30 AM but the temperature was quickly rising to the high of one hundred and three degrees.
It was only twelve hours ago in Chicago, when Jane witnessed the same sunrise on the other side of the world. She woke up to the buzzing of her alarm clock at approximately 6:30 AM and began her morning routine. After she showered, brushed her teeth and curled her hair, she entered her spacious closet, which held some of her prized possessions. On the right side of the room was a row of t-shirts, tank tops, cardigans, and sweaters, all organized and placed in their correct spot based on color coordination. On the left side of the room you could find a plethora of jeans, dresses, shorts and skirts. She put on her outfit, which she preselected the night before and walked downstairs for breakfast. She entered the kitchen to see a warm plate of pancakes already set on the table for her to eat.
As Naaman struggled to keep up with the mules, he noticed that the strap on his left scandal was tearing apart from the main platform of the shoe. The sun began to bake
the sand and Naaman felt a slight sting as sand particles passed through his scandal. After about three hours into the journey, he decided to take a sip of water from his canteen. He had to be careful and ration off the water in order to make it last for the whole entire day.
By the time he got to the market, his forehead was covered with thick beads of sweat and his feet ached from the miles of walking. But without a pain revealing expression, he walked around the market until he found a vacant place where he could tie his mules.
Meanwhile, Jane was finished with her breakfast and was making her way into the garage where her car was parked. Usually, it took about twelve minutes for her to get to school but today; she took a detour to Starbucks and ordered a white chocolate mocha. Already, she was feeling more energetic and ready for her day. Her school day consisted of eight class periods with a five-minute break in between each class. She took mostly all college-level classes because she liked to be challenged and wanted to receive college-credit for her efforts. Besides academics, Jane was involved in clubs and volunteer work. She was even enrolled in a college program and was working towards an internship from a university. Jane was a hard-working student and has many ambitions for the future.
As Jane sat through her eight classes, Naaman was bargaining with a middle-aged man for the price of his two mules. The price on each mule was 1,000 Afghani but the man would settle for no more than 850 Afghani each. They argued for about fifteen more minutes and the man took off with one mule, which was bought for 900 Afghani. It was about one hour later until Naaman spotted another prospective buyer walking in his
direction. She was an elderly woman, maybe in her late seventies. Although her entire face was covered with a shawl, you approximate her age by the deep-set wrinkles on her forehead and the tired, droopy eyes. She approached Naaman, and with a muffled voice she began the bargaining at 820 Afghani for the last mule. Naaman countered that with an offer for 950 Afghani and said that he would not go any lower than that. But after another ten minutes, the cunning old women made him drop the price to 890 Afghani.
She left him with a bag of stale crackers, which he ate on the way home. The four-hour journey back home gave him a lot of time to think about his profits for the day. He made about 1,790 Afghani, not bad. It was a decent profit and Naaman was proud of his hard work.
After the long four hours, he arrived home and shared the exciting news with his mother, father, and two younger siblings. He gave half the money to his father, and kept the other half. He put his savings in a large envelope, counted the cash, and made a quick calculation about how much more he needed to earn in order to return to school. His face wore a grim expression as he placed the money back into the envelope.
Naaman ate his dinner and quickly gazed at the stars before going to bed. He slept peacefully and got up the next morning to the see the same sunrise that Jane saw about twelve hours ago, and continued with his day.