Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Poor: When hopelessness is Comfort

They're poor, yet richer than all of us.
It was a thrilling experience. No movie has ever affected me as this one. I could have lived a 100 years without seeing this. No one I know has ever gone, by their own will, there. Only it wasn't a movie this time. More REAL than anything else I've ever seen. SO real that I'm still having difficulty moving on.

More than a week ago, I was taken by my mother's friend to visit over 20 poor homes. I have never been that close to them. My maximum was having them come to a charity unit and dealing with them personally there. But to actually see their homes by my own eyes was not one of my plans. However, off we went; Mrs.G, Mrs.H, Mrs.R and yours truly, to a whole area stacked with the poorest people my eyes have ever lied on.

Streets: no streets. More like human tunnels that the sun rays don't get to. To those in Egypt, no it's not a "7ara", much much smaller, only fits one person by width.
Air: I don't think I've taken one deep breath my whole time there. The air is damp. No certain smells but rather a stiff sensation of not enough air in my lungs.
Homes: No chairs. Tables. Plates. NOTHING. As big as a four sided square about 1 meter wide. Made of rock (I don't know how). No Roof, only bamboo and sticks from above. Of course, no bathrooms.
Men: I haven't seen one man or boy child in the whole area. Both men and boys are at work. I remember seeing a 5 year old boy carrying a much bigger than his size, tray of fresh bread and calling out for people to buy it. I looked at him and smiled. He smiled back and moved on.
Women: Sitting on the floor infront of their homes. Heard lots of laughs. Couldn't understand how do they still laugh amidst this hell hole of a life they have.

We started our day. We had a list of specific homes that we had to visit. We were to visit only families with no fathers.( No fathers here means men who died, men who are paralyzed/sick, men who have left their families behind for a better life.) I was watchful, alert, aware of every detail around me, not adapting, but temporarily surviving.

The first Family we visited had one child. The husband blind and paralyzed after an accident. The wife still in love with her husband and son.
Some things she said:
"He (her husband) has treated me well during his years of strength, it is my time to thank him now (by taking care of him) till he dies. He deserves all that is good. He deserves much more than that."

" I fear to die before him and then no one would look after him"

"The boy is a present from Allah. I had 6 miscarriages before him for a period of 18 years. Then one night I slept, and saw the Prophet PBUH in my dream. He PBUH took me to Masjid alAqsa, and gave me 3 dates. I ate one. 2 months later, I was pregnant. I asked a Sheikh about the vision, he told me that if I'd have ate the 3 dates, I would have had 3 sons."

"I have seen the Prophet in my dreams twice. One of them was in this room you are in now. In this room, we speak quietly to respect that the Prophet was in it years ago in my dream. This is a special room and you are special people. "

This house is the only one with 2 rooms. The room she speaks of has a bed and the floor is covered with prayer carpets. Although she can't read or write, a Qur'aan is placed on a clean piece of cloth on a chair. Again, the only house that has a chair.

"Now I don't want anything from this world but to go to heaven. (she swears again that she doesn't want anything). I am richer than all the rich. I am rich with faith. It's the food that eases my hunger and gives me patience."

I blink twice and look at her closely, memorizing her features. This is a woman I never want to forget.

"Since my husband's accident. Men here have been trying to abuse me, knowing that noone will protect me. Thanks to Allah, I have been saved every time. A woman here must have a man to lean on. "

I have seen so many other families. Each with a more dramatic story than the one before. But they all had one thing in common: Hopelessness and comfort. They didn't complain. Smiled alot and laughed more. One even challenged us to find a rich family that has the happiness they have, a rich family that has children who treat their mother like a queen.

"I am their queen. They would die for me. No money could buy me that", one sick mother said.

Every visit I held my tears in. The moment we'd leave, I'd let my tears fall. They say there's a first time for everything. Every visit affected me as if it was the first time.

They thanked Allah for everything. The word "Alhamdullelah" is said alot there. The words "We don't know how to thank God for all his blessings" was heard almost every time there. I thought to my self, "what blessings?", I longed to ask them how are they satisfied and what blessings are they talking about. To my eyes, I saw nothing. I saw sickness, orphans and hunger.

I tried to convince myself that they are satisfied. That if they're not, they would have gone crazy. To wake up every day for more than 20 years with no change- only to the worse, and still feel strong and lively is a miracle.

By the end of the day, I reviewed my life. I have everything and forget to thank. Not only that, I'm also always wanting more. That was then. Now, I have learnt my lesson. and like the woman above said: "Now I don't want anything from this world but to go to heaven."

I tell her: Take me with you.

P.S. Mrs.G. in an attempt to relieve my shock, told me that poor people, on Judgement day, go to heaven 500 years earlier than the rich.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My 15 Favourites- UPDATE!

Better late than never! Tagged by Twosret and Nesrina, here it is... Thank you gurls for your interesting tag.
1- Purple. Anything purple quickly becomes my favourite.

2- Helping poor people (In my country, they are everywhere.) and getting physically/emotionally exhausted for them, even if they don't even thank me.

3- Ma2louba and Tabboula

4- Blogging. Reading other blogs and interacting with them is more fun to me than blogging on my own over here. :)

5- Giving Presentations

6- Going to my weekly Qur'aan lesson. We memorize so horribly it's hilarious!

7- Family gatherings.

8- Crazy Friend gatherings. esp if our friendship goes way back to the crazy times hehe!

9- Talking to the young woman who helps clean our house. Although she can't read or write, yet listening to her is even more valuable than 10 lectures at college. It's called "Life Education".

10- Shopping!

11- My sister's Cheesecake.

12- Speed Driving


13- Graphology. Yes it's true. I can discover your personality by just observing your handwriting!

14- When it rains in Cairo

15- Listening to Mashary Rashed. A Qur'aan reciter with the voice of an angel.


How can I forget my victims?
Enny Rahela

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sometimes I wonder how could my love for every one fit inside a young heart as mine? and still keep on growing?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Growing Up

Amongst every 2 friends there is always one who loves the other more. One who would want the other happier more. One who would think of the other more. One who would pray for the other more.
Inside your relationship you don't notice which one of those 2 is you. You go out , have fun and study together. You're so busy with other friends, events and plans. But that friend is the dearest to your heart. You don't know why, still busy, you don't even notice.

Then one day, something happens and your realizition hits you in the face. I glanced at my friend and found her crying. I had no idea what was wrong with her but the inner urge to fight my tears for her tears was unbearable. After the lecture, I, with another friend did the following different reactions:
My reaction: Comforted her first then asked her what's wrong with her
the other one's Rx: tell me tell me tell me!

My crying friend then pulled her hand and took her aside to tell her why she's crying, not even noticing my presence.
In a matter of split seconds, all my friends gathered and we sat, talked and had fun as we do always. Giving them my best smile, I thought about my new discovery that I'm not even on her list, just someone with things-in-common , fun-to-be-with and hell-so-helpful. I caught myself getting hurt by this discovery and the thought of heartaching so quick bothered me.

I then remembered Rudyard Kipling in his outstanding poem
IF about manhood:

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much;

and the bigger realization hit me hard: I ain't man enough yet. Not internally a mature grown-up yet. But I fixed that part inside of me. The part that cares what others feel towards me. I will now, just the same, treat her as I always did, but for the sake of doing good not waiting or caring for anything in return.

With that done, I've yet a long way to my inner sanity. To understanding myself well enough not to suddenly get shocked by my unneccessary feelings. I'd rather save my tears for the poor, sick and needy. For those in real pain.

Not much

  • I'm Jannah
  • From Cairo, Egypt
  • If I am as honest as I know how to be, I may discover here as I write, day after day, something in myself, something of my own nature... that I might otherwise not be aware of...
That's it

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