" There is no warning for the sight of a first child. There should be a song for women to sing at that moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough at that moment. " ( Anita Diamant, The Red Tent )
So this is the first sight of our first born. The Shariya Camp Restorative Arts Therapy Centre. We didn't plan to bring our first born into the world yesterday, or this week come to that...it came out on its own. As with all babies, it knew it's timing.
We were given the land inside the camp a while back and many times have come that close to " losing" it due to our lack of building. And Sunday was just one of those days when the gavel fell, both this way and that way at the same time. It was definitely an o emergency delivery, the baby had to come out, now. We could no longer, not even for one day, retain the land without a building.
It was after a long hot day in War City, and herein I am sensing lies yet another tale with a lesson hidden in it, that the baby was born. I will return to that point. Mr Abdullah had invited us for dinner and believe me the eyes of my stomach had been on his dinner all day. If not, for two days. His own Shingal honey, techina, home made yoghurt, and cheeses. More than scrumptious.
The way to our Mr Abdullah goes through the industrial estate of Sumel. And it was there that we laid eyes on our first born. And it was there and then that we got out of our boat with the knowing that it was time to walk on water. Bring this baby into the world. We ran between various caravan construction companies ( that's in the camp building here ), price quotes, endless rounds of strong over sugared black tea, and the baby showed its head.
That was 5 pm on Sunday evening. Delivery guaranteed Tuesday evening at 5 pm.
To return to my point about the first born. Shariya is our first born. Our first love. Our first pledge and commitment. To our Yezidi tribe. To those who have been rescued from the captivity of the black flag in Syria and Mosul. That is where our heart lies. I speak for myself and all of my team.
However the path took us first to the " stranger", the Syrian refugees from Aleppo and Mosul in War City. There was this overwhelming sense, for me, at least, of " put your heart on hold, while another heart grows for these kids." I believe my team have also been allowed, or given the chance to let their hearts extend to the one whom they would otherwise ignore, if not write off.
Our Community Centre teaching the Muslim kids, art, drama,story-telling, music, sports, English and computer science is now up and running. It too is a baby, very much in diapers and has a way to go until even crawling begins but there is a deep sense that having been willing to reach out to the " stranger", we are now allowed to witness and experience that first born baby come into the world. Stronger and more healthy as our hearts have been worked on, softened, reshaped, enlarged as we brought 30 Muslim kids into them and began to live in the realm of the dignity in difference and notice that really there is no divide.
Shariya. The Village of Sheaves. The village that has become a camp to some 22,000 Yezidis . A village of tears and weariness of soul . Home. The place of birth.
We have several dunams of land inside the camp, just behind the outside the camp market, overlooking the village and the mountains. Land that is currently dry and dusty but will become green as we establish more caravans, allotments for growing and a kids playground as a tangible, physical means of living and being with our Springs Kids.
The song that will be sung here is different from that of War City. The voice that will be heard here is unknown in War City. War and Sheaves. Two songs. Two stories. Two voices. Harmony in dissonance. Maybe just maybe the day will come when the two will become one and we will discover two parts of a symphony are being written.
Thank you for being there, behind us, alongside us. Believing, encouraging. With that first sight yesterday evening, my heart indeed both sang and leaped inside. With thanks to the Almighty, for allowing us to be here at such a critical time in regional history and with equal thanks to you, for walking with us.
Thank you for helping us to establish and live community up here in Shariya Village. Thanks for loving on both our kids. The Kids of War and the Kids in Sheaves.