I am sitting with this wonderful young Kurdish woman somewhere that I would have never found if it wasn’t for her. I am not surprised this is where she comes to hang out. It reflects a lot about her personality. After all, only people who know the real meaning of life will come here (hang in there, more about where we are at a later post) the point is, I am sitting on the floor, face to face, with one of those Kurdish girls who has turned all her challenges and sorrows in life into positive energy to change the life of others. Her name? Saza. Yes, I have picked up one extra letter from her name, and if I had 1% of her inner soul beauty than I consider myself lucky.
Name: Saza Muhammad
Age: 28 years old
Education: Political Science graduate, Salahaddin University
Profession: Journalist (I must add here, Saza is also a full time volunteer)
This is the girl who cleaned groceries while holding the book with her feet as she studied. The girl who lost her mother at a time in her life when she needed her most, the girl who cares about her society, her people, the one who wants to leave this world knowing she left something for others.
There are girls in my life who in the presence I feel I am learning, even from their silence. I learn from every move and every word they say. They are like walking teachers. Life time teachers. Saza is top ranked in this list. This young Kurdistani girl makes you feel safe, in her presence you feel there are perfect beings in this world who only want to do good in their life.
The type who doesn’t compare herself to anyone else but works to make herself a better person, and achieve her own goals; Saza makes me believe a woman has a purpose to live. The commitment, love and time she gives her family is just as grand as what she puts into her friendship and work with vulnerable people.
I have seen this girl mix with orphan children. I feel she is a mother to them all, she feels she is responsible to the children’s happiness, their wellbeing. If I had a little of Saza’s heart, if I could only take in everything I learn from her everytime I see her, I am grateful. She was one of the active people in the donations campaign to Hujam Surchi in Erbil and many other voluntary events that restulted in massive success.
Mandalawi: Saza, tell me about you.
Saza: She begins with a smile that tells me “where do I began”
For two years I volunteered with Dilvia, I worked most on the Dream projects. My mother, god bless her soul, may she rest in peace, was unwell for many years of her life before she left but she continued to help people till her last breath. When I was 18, in my first year of university she died. I lost my emotional support… In a family of nine she was the closest to me. I never ate a single meal if she wasn’t sitting next to me. The person I wanted most in my life left me. I began visiting the orphanage, the elderly people’s home, you can say I continued life by keeping my mother’s soul alive. I began sharing a never ending love with vulnerable people in our community, a type of love that came with a lot of responsibility.
Mandalawi: What do you live for?
Saza: Helping people. Being part of people’s lives. Whoever needs help, young or old. I am the happiest when I am part of people’s or see their smile. Sometimes I walk in the street I don’t know anyone, but I start a conversation, if they smile, I feel really happy. In my writing I try to focus a lot on people’s lives and their personal stories.
Mandalawi: Challenges? I ask and sigh, because I wonder how she will answer this question, knowing that Saza’s story is not an easy one.
Saza: I believe in one thing, whenever you are different, or want to do something different then you automatically face challenges. This is normal. I have come to accept this reality. If I sat down, didn’t move, of course I wouldn’t be confronted with such challenges in my life. My sisters who are much humbler than I am don’t expereince these difficult encounters. I am the odd one out (laughs). The crazy one.
Mandalawi’s note: I notice in Kurdish households in particular the traditional ones the ‘crazy’ in the family is the change maker, the outcast, the black sheep. The one who has to fight and argue to prove it is worth doing what she does.
Saza: I always write three most important things for the day to do, work related or not. But I always have three dot points hand written. A day doesn’t go pass with a dose of news from all around the world, I work on a newspaper website so that’s part of my job. I have a training once a week which I do, I am learning a lot from that, and of course I do housework with my stepmother. Even before my mother passed away I took on the role in the house because she wasn’t well. Shopping is also on me! (She smiles. God I love this girl’s smile)
Mandalawi: Your dreams in life?
Saza: Laughing* “I have made a list of 100 dreams, how do you want me to choose only 3?
We begin talking and our conversation takes many turns, that I stop asking the questions I had prepared. Saza tells me about how we must work so that dreams don’t just remain a dream. She tells me about books she reads, her relationship with her 17 nieces and nephews and we go back to her ultimate wish to do a masters degree in Kurdistan, but when door after door closes she knows very well the only solution is a trip to the UK. When and how, she doesn’t know just yet, but she knows the traditional girl from Qaladze will travel on a plane and pursue her postgraduate studies only to fly back to her nest and complete a lifetime journey she has already began. A journey where people need her in their lives.
I love going somewhere to see Saza come in with a wide dressed elegently in her simple Jli Kurdi (Kurdish traditional clothes). I love how traditional yet simple, beautiful, educated and down to earth Saza can be. Saza is the girl who you look at and want your sister, daughter, and everyone else around you to have a little of her. She is the girl who you are proud to introduce to anyone you know, you are proud to introduce her as a Kurdish girl. I know one day this young girl in her one ways will make huge changes in Kurdistan’s society. She is alredy making that difference. She is a beacon of hope.
lots of love from
My Nest in Kurdistan