Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Face In The Crowd I'll Never Forget

It's early morning just before dawn.  And I remember her like it was yesterday.  A tiny lively little girl with dark brown bouncy curls rather unkempt; but she radiated happiness and yet a longing.   

Ever since I can remember, I have had this desire to travel anywhere everywhere it was inexplicable.  In high school, I took every class I could with no studies, so I could get out of high school my junior year with all my credits and marks to graduate.  I worked at jobs in a bakery, babysitting and catering; saving as much as I could to go to travel school and live on my own in Boston, MA during what would have been my senior year and hit the road. 

I've never regretted this choice and thankfully my parents encouraged me to follow my heart and opened their home often and still do to exchange students and my friends from abroad. Their stipulation about my travel lust - was to ask a lot of questions about where I was going. 

One year shortly thereafter, I had the opportunity to take a few months off and this burning desire to investigate the middle east on my own.  Israel was moving towards the upteenth time of peace talks, but it looked promising and I wanted to be there to see history, to experience it.  

I was influenced by Yaakov Levy, a man I never met but having grown up in a home that promoted volunteerism; he was someone I saw as the quintessential public servant, he always spoke about peace and Palestine with impeccable professionalism and hope. It's why I joined Sar-El, to learn about their culture - one that had mandatory enlistment - for me it was just 3 weeks; but I stayed in the middle east for a couple of months. Taking side trips to Turkey, Greece and Egypt. 

Egypt is where I saw her.  I crossed the Taba border, Egypt's busiest border with Israel by bus.  Where I met up with other travelers who had the foresight to book hotel rooms in advance, I figured I save on one hotel room by sleeping on the bus on the way in and I was meeting another girl that wanted to go to Egypt, but didn't want to travel alone - the next day. 

I would pick something out when I got there. I ended up staying in the same hotel as several others on this trip. This was an amazing adventure that I will have to tell you more about another time.  For now, in Cairo, I had met up with many people from other countries and we would explore the pyramids, museums perfumeries, and markets together - along with our guide Yassar and Mohammad (He was rather like a sumo wrestler). 

Yassar was this amazing guy, who was Muslim and had told me about reading the bible in it's entirety; and he had the most incredible stories about the history of Egypt old and new. Each day we ventured out to experience something new in this incredibly busy city; and on one occasion I saw this little girl who was an orphan. We were told not to give money, but my heart just broke so I smiled and said hello and then slipped her a few dollars without the older kids around her seeing.

I couldn't stop thinking about her, I literally wanted to bring her home. But I was a young American who was not Muslim or married; understanding their culture a little better; it was the answer I expected. I was told it would not be possible to adopt her. Each day my goal was to be sure I had change in case I saw her again. I never did - until the day I left and I was on a bus to the Taba border.  
There was a hovering mist and my friends and I were saying good-bye; making plans to meet up in Haifa, Israel a week later. The bus slowly started down the road with my head resting against the window suddenly there she was running along side the bus waving goodbye to me.   I remember her smiling and praying that some how she would have a better life & school. 

I remember her most whenever I see a young child in need; or perhaps today I remember her vividly because I saw a young girl with flowing dark brown hair rush out of school to tell her mother about her day and the mother waved her forward as she continued talking on her cell phone without even acknowledging her own child's accomplishments.  This happens to often.  I wanted to walk up to them and demand the mother put away her phone and remind her how lucky she was to have her children with her! 

This little face in the crowd always reminds me to have time for another when they want to talk and to share what their stories. You never know what hand your going to be dealt next; and the only way to be prepared is to share what you have with others, when you need it most it will be returned in unexpected ways.  

Keep Asking Questions
Ћ ℋead ℱairy

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