No pretty pictures or travel stories today. No beautiful rugs or exotic purchases. No stories of friendly locals. Just a reminder of how incredibly lucky we are.
I’ve been feeling rather sorry for myself lately. The move here was hard on everyone. We left our comfortable life, the known, the easy, and have immersed ourselves in a completely different culture. We don’t speak the language, don’t understand the customs, can’t leave the country by car because of war on all borders. I can hardly get online without reading another horrible report about the Syrian war spilling into Jordan and Turkey. It is all taking place so very close to where we live. We don’t feel threatened or unsafe, but the regular warnings from the US Embassy are scary.
I had breakfast this morning with two students and asked them if their parents would be here next weekend for parents weekend. Both said no and for fairly similar reasons. One is Syrian and it is too dangerous for his parents to cross the border. He went home last weekend and, rather than the usual 4 hour trip, it took him 9 hours. A few hours after he crossed, there was shooting at the same border. Keep in mind that this is a 13 year old, traveling alone, across war zones.
The other child is Nigerian. He’d spoken with his mother this morning and she was at the police station because her brother had just been murdered by the Boko Haram in Borno. He then went on to tell us of the beatings he’s witnessed, the multiple times he’s been shot at while going through a checkpoint with his family, the piles of dead bodies stacked in the shape of a pyramid. The matter-of-fact way that he described everyday life was truly heartbreaking.
After that intense breakfast, those two boys and several other 9th graders came back to our apartment to hang out with Andrew. They played xbox, drank soda, told inappropriate jokes, basically acted like normal 13 year old boys. I’m not sure how I feel about the contrast. I know that I don’t understand how they can continue to laugh, love, study, be silly, be kind and be wonderful. I only hope that we can offer them a tiny bit of stability in their very unstable lives. They have worked their way into my heart, and I will never be the same. I am so very lucky.