In life we do not always know what we want, sometimes we are too carried away looking for our own comforts and what makes us happy. We forget of what we have, and more importantly the people that surround us. Only when they leave our lives do we realize what they meant to us and learn that their place in our hearts will never fade. Once they leave the things around us mean nothing, the beauty of life disappears and we do everything to forget them, but they can never be forgotten.
We all have people in our life who we love and cherish. But recently experiences and incidents in my life made me look into this in a deeper way, in fact, much deeper.
With a group of friends we decided to take a trip to the orphanage in Erbil, I must say it added depth to the ocean of feelings I had inside me.
Of all the children, one in particular caught my attention, little Rozie*she was the first one I saw; actually I was outside when I saw her first. Rozie was on a sofa, she had the curtains in one hand pulled to the side and the other hand on her cheek as she looked outside the window from the three story house, her and her 10 to 15 friends live in, she is about three years old, and as soon as we walked in she ran to welcome us. Her large smile showing her milk teeth, her hair messy but cute and then there it was, shiny eyes that told me the world is okay.
This little girl’s eyes were full of hope, tenderness and warmth. She was not alone. All the children were beautiful in their own ways; they are talented, energetic and vibrant. They are full of life, yet somehow somewhere deep there ought to be a wound, and it is evident.
The children have all the toys they need, all the room they need and all the food they would want to eat. But they do not have the one thing that a child needs the most—the feeling of security, they do not have access to a mother’s chest to put their heads on at nap time. Nor can they fall on the ground laughing because Daddy is tickling them.
Children are the most precious gifts in this world; they are also the most innocent and harmless. If there is one thing that children do best it is making us smile in our most distressful days. They know nothing of the world and its sadness. They are not concerned that the Kurds are the largest stateless nation, that Israel and Palestine have been in war for so many years, the economic crisis has left countless number of people jobless, and the world is coming to a place where people kill others in the name of God.
Their world composes of two people—Mummy and Daddy. For the beautiful smile to appear on their face all they want is a toy to be amused with and a hug.
How sad is it to be separated from the person who carried you in their womb for nine months, how despondent would one feel not to be able to see the other half who contributed so that you can appear in this world?
What angers me the most is that the children in Erbil’s orphanage, most of whom, have parents who are living, but they have been abandoned. The common stories are ‘the parents got divorced’ or ‘the mother got married and neither parent wanted the kids’ or ‘she was not wanted in the first place’. These are excuses that reflect something in our society that is lacked- family planning.
Be married for six months and if people do not see a ‘baby bump’ then something is wrong (though I must admit this is changing to a great extent now, which is wonderful news!) some couples do not divorce because they have children, and priority is given to the kids first. I cannot agree with this alternative. Nor can I accept that children become victims to the lousy decision making skills of adults.
There is nothing that the what so called ‘orphans’ lack–Other than lots of hugs–Our day began with a few friends who had raised some money; we made our way to the shops 9AM sharp and bought some gifts (though we all know ‘things’ can never bring happiness—but sometimes it is necessary–) and yummy goodies. We were then off to the orphanage, I must say it is a beautiful, modern area. There are six houses for boys and girls. They are both divided into 0-6 years; 6 years to high school; and then high school age and above. Boys separate and girls separate. It was organized.
Above: the girls busy with the shopping first
We began with the primary school girls first, somewhere at school when we went, we did painting, drawing, making jewelry, putting together jigsaw puzzles (which they were so fast to learn!! Must take 300 pieces this time!!) counting, writing and eating!
Busy with the puzzles…
The babies next door were noisy, but if it were in our hands we would not leave the front door. It was the most touching experience as Lava, age 4, cried and cried when we left. “You say you will come back but you won’t” she told one of my friends.
And Rozie, well her voice is still in my ear: “let them go, but you stay…” her words are soft and precious, just like herself.
I am happy that we made a visit, because I know their life is not as bad as I had first thought or imagined (the other orphanage before was a misery in itself). At the same time, the visit affects every day of my life, every move and ever decision. I was inspired by every child there.
Rozie comes to my mind every night before I put my head on the pillow, I wonder if she is okay, I wonder if she is hungry or if someone hurt her today (the social workers maybe). I wish life brings her success and happiness, she has a long journey ahead, and I am sure she will be a strong young woman one day who will have influence on those around her. That I am sure of.
I put Rozie’s picture on the blog a few times and kept deleting it… something inside me won’t let me put her picture, as much as I like to. If you get the chance visit her… she will be happy to see you… I am sure!!
*Names of children changed for ethical reasons