“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another”
I want to introduce you to some people that I have had the honour of working with in the last several days in Za’atari. I have been blessed to be able to look into their eyes, speak with them for some time, lay my hands on them and try to help. Strangers made into friends. Please do not take these short introductions as anything but a human story. Each person is not a tragedy, not a disaster. Rather each is our kindred, let us stand with them. Remember this and stand up and greet my friends with sweetness.
Aisha. She is an incredible 6 year old. “ I will continue to live my life fully and not be stopped by this”. Aisha was blasted out of a second story building by a bomb, hips shattered, surviving to tell her story, but unable to walk properly the rest of her life. A determined little girl, for her life is full of possibility.
Meet Khalled, age 26. As he was walking home from work a bomb went off shattering his spine midway and he is now a paraplegic in the difficult conditions of a refugee camp. Incredibly this happened only 4 months ago, in January. He had to get surgery in Syria then his family escaped to Jordan. I can’t imagine this journey for him with is new wounds.
I have rarely ever seen a bigger, brighter smile on anyone before. How is it everytime I see you you are smiling so much? “ if I don’t smile there is nothing. If I smile, I bring brightness and hope to myself and my family”.
In his family they all seem to laugh a lot.
Meet Noor who misses her sons so much. But the one who is dead she deals with ok. It’s the one missing in Syria that keeps her from being able to rest at night. Her beautiful face shows both gratefulness for being safe and deep sadness for the loss.
Dear Mohammed- the first time I met him he had the 1000 mile look in his eyes. (disassociated look from PTSD). He was arrested for no known reason and put into jail and tortured daily for a month… hit over the head multiple times, he suffered from constant chronic headache since then. He is only 23.
During the second session with him, his eyes had changed. A lamp was relit, a smile cracked his expressionless face and he was so much more present.
After 3 acupuncture sessions his headache of 3 years was pretty much gone.
Aisha- she came for acupuncture for her carpal tunnel syndrome caused by carrying water in the camp from the distribution to her tiny caravan home. How is your family I ask? They are well. Then she starts to cry when she relates that she misses some of her family so much as some had to stay behind in Syria. She worries about them. She misses the evenings they used to all eat together, share tea and conversation. She worries about their safety. The loneliness and longing is especially deep in many of the women.
Meet Zarah. She arrives at the clinic in full burka, only her eyes showing. 19 years old. With my interpreter, which is a man, we determine that she has leg pain that prevents her from doing some activities.
The second he leaves the room she speaks to me in English and removes her hijab, her burka and is absolutely unabashed about showing her body to another woman. I cannot believe how many layers these women wear under the dress… I get overheated just looking at all the clothes!
Despite her conservative dress, and deep religious values she is also one of the most fluent English speakers I have met at the camp. I should not be surprised. its too easy to prejudice the unknown.
She had finished highschool and is hoping to continue education. She expresses love and appreciation for other cultures and her desire to keep learning.
“I had no idea i would leave until there was no choice left. When my home was destroyed by a bomb i did not think i just turned my back and walked away. Thank god my family was safe. We walked until we got to the border and by god grace we were let accross.
Now we are here and we wait.”
“I long to be back with my olive and lemon trees in my garden. I miss the smell of spring and the roses and it is even harder now that spring has arrived now. My jasmine will be blooming to enchant us, but we are not there to thank it for its enchanting smell.
We used to sit under these trees to drink tea. My family and my neighbours sat togethet and enjoyed conversation and food in the garden whenever it was nice out. I miss it so much and i pray to be able to return soon.”
Just like the incredible beauty and diversity of flowers, We have been gifted the opportunity, the possibility of seeing the beauty that each faith, each culture, can bring to our world. It is gods way of showing us how many different ways there are of expressing love.
I come away from work each day feeling blessed and even more clear of the importance of staying positive and hopeful and to be earnest and truthful.
I thank all those I have had the honour to help thus far. Thank you for the unknown poetry of your broken ever hopeful hearts.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
Our philosophy in life should be kindness. So be kind, be true, be strong. Be gentle, be joyful, be peace. This is what people ask for. Superheros are not needed.
“The planet does not need more successful people. It desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, story telllers and lovers of all kind”
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”~Edward Everett Hale
If you can donate to my campaign and help me continue my work with refugees I and the people I work with would be so appreciative.