Abdullah and Manal
One day I was at an apartment complex to pick up some Congolese girls for dance practice. During our visit, I distributed food to families there and Charity saw a young Syrian woman peering over a balcony at us. We looked and she looked away in shyness. We motioned for her to come down and she hesitated so we went up to her apartment and asked if she needed food. She shook her head as if she could not understand us. We motioned to her that we have food, so she came down and only took a few items.
Over that next week I thought about her a lot and decided to go back again for a visit, but she didn't answer this time. Another week went by and I went back again. This time she was home and she followed us down with a smile. She knew we were there to help. We met her young children who are 4 and 2 years old and we gave them treats. We tried to communicate with words, but we were only able to smile at each other from lack of understanding. The next visit she opened the door and motioned for us to come inside. We could see in her face that she was very happy to see us. She had been waiting for us to arrive to meet her husband, who was also home this time. We resorted to google translate as our way of communication and we were able to get acquainted and learn this family's story.
We learned that her name is Manal and her husband's name is Abdullah and was a welder in Syria before the war. This family actually has 3 children. The husband told us how their home was destroyed by a bomb. He showed us scars on his body and shared with us that they had a 7 month old baby (their other son's twin) that lost his life when the bomb hit their home. They had to leave their son behind in the house as they ran for their lives and tried to save their other baby.
My daughter, Ariel, and I wept. We didn't speak as we did not know what to say. Manal could see in our faces and from our tears how sorry we were for their loss.
Because of the war, they fled to Turkey and they were there for 3 years in a refugee camp before being resettled in Las Vegas. We told her life would be better here and safer here for her and her family. We told her that we want to help them and that we are now friends. She embraced us and kissed us on the cheeks.
We left their home with such gratitude in our hearts for our families, our freedom, and the safety we enjoy here.