Volunteer’s series in Romania
This is the first time I have ever had a visa, the first time I have been on a plane and living alone. The first seven days are so far away from my father’s lap, not too far away in kilometers; it is just one continent, and my father’s lap and my mother’s voice!
Someone told me I would be alone in a place I do not know! But I have never felt it, and nothing like it, not even scared or lost!. This city is as affectionate as a mother and I really feel safe as if I have been in this place since forever. Most people here do not speak English, but they are cooperative, and they want to help me and my colleagues in any way, even if it requires the use of a sign language or body language. Adina, with a quiet smile, stops at the station to help an old woman, looking at my face with love to tell me in Romanian, “that I am beautiful!”.
The fifth day, which is friends’ day, I volunteered in an activity with a social cafe that was dedicated to girls and women. It provoked my curiosity, and after the question, it turns out that there was a story that started ten years ago that was the reason behind it -I will tell you in an article about my experience in Romania-. After the launch of the post, I stayed with a few organizers and a small child and a dog, this child is curious like all the children, he asked me very innocently, “why I am wearing headscarf?!”, I tried to answer sufficiently. We said goodbye at the end in the hope of meeting again, and here we meet again. He asked me, “Did you hear about 9/11?, and do you know that many Arabs and Muslims were killed that day by Americans who knew nothing?!”. What is the truth of these events?, are we not innocent of this crime even if the group that carried it claims belonging to Islam?, we criminalize it, it is a violent extremist group that does not represent all Muslims around the world! That is what helped me with my tongue, but my heart did not help me.
These events reached the child through the news and articles published about September 11, 2019, and here is the news that returns again to distort the childhood of many children as distorted by the bloody news and the news of the bombings and the deads in Iraq and Palestine my childhood. The renewal of hatred and stigmatization is nothing but rhetoric and policy of hatred based on generalization, how wars end and the land is so fertile, ready to swallow more bodies and victims around the world.
Do not worry, baby, maybe your childhood will be restored here in Craiova because people carry in their hearts love, peace, and acceptance of the other. It seems to me how much they value humane beings and humanity.
Today is the 13th of September and I will be meeting a large group of volunteers of different origins and nationalities who will work together for the children of Craiova. I will satisfy my appetite as this meeting is like a song about peace. The nature here is very captivating, the Danube, for example, resembles a fantasy more than reality very beautiful and quiet, the people in Orshova are also no different from those in Craiova smiling and cooperative, we lit fire in the evening we looked at the sky at length, we sang and wished a lot of wishes until we slept peacefully.
I am back to work, today is a very important day in Craiova, I am going to attend the Semi Development Conference from Craiova, the press will meet us as well and we will talk about the importance of volunteering, and I will be participating in the volunteers’ festival on 21 September 2019.
On the day of 22/9, I prepared for an activity with a social cafe called Barcicleta, and I thought it would be a big activity, but the surprise was when they told me that their main goal was to teach me to ride a bike, I was really happy with their interest and care for me. How do I feel now or when I first ride a bike running next to me to protect me?
A utopia is not a myth, love is not a lie, it is always there, we just have to let it pass through us. Craiova does not embody the meaning of the utopia literally but spiritually, my colleague Ibrahim asks me when he was so happy to open the door of paradise? But this is perhaps not paradise but the goodness that exists in people’s hearts, or maybe it is just love?. Maybe the pleasure of being with people who are different from you and to harmonize with them and the feeling of belonging to human beings. How beautiful it is to break the stereotype of the selfishness of the West and the Europeans and to limit altruism and generosity to the Arabs! Here and now the boxes fall, stereotypes cannot fool us again, and I am free from any outdated racist notion stuck in my unconscious mind.
To my new family, from Barcicleta Adina, Cornell, his son, his wife, Ovidiu, Simon and her son, Valentin, and all my colleagues from Jordan Husam, Ibrahim Yezen, Ala’a Youssef, and my foundation officials, Adina Georgiana, Madeleina, Christie, Anna, Romanian volunteers Alex, Carmen, roommates, Huda. Vlada and all the volunteers from all over the world are here and now to passers-by and passers-by, to those, I meet every day) thank you for your support and for being part of this rich and unique experience.