Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Em Ehab in Nileen

I helped today with food distribution in Nileen, a village of maybe 10,000 in the West Bank. In the first home we visited we found the husband at home. He has a job as a pharmaceutical distributor, but all the chaos has disrupted his business. We sat together in a room that he said was about 350 years old. His grandfather and father were village elders and they used the room in the past to meet with people for village business. (The walls were about 1.5 meters thick.) In the older part of the house was his sons’ bedroom complete with computer. (350 years old was the new part; he claimed the older part was 1700 years old; maybe not, but it was obviously ancient) The new within the old was a striking picture.

We were welcomed enthusiastically in the next home we visited. Our hostess loves Americans… all except George Bush. She was glad that we came because she’d been thinking she’d like to meet someone who could talk to him about the problems we have in the Middle East…

In the next home we met Em (mother of ) Ehab. Abu (father of) Ehab works as a fruit seller and makes about $200/month. They have five children ranging in age from 17 down to 2 years old; 2 boys – twins almost 16 and 3 daughters. Em Ehab measures her life by wars – she was born during the 6 day war; she was engaged a week before the first uprising started, the twins were born around the time of the first Gulf War and so on. She told us that she used to have big dreams for her children. They would be married and build a house; their lives would be better than hers had been. Now it is hard for her to imagine them ever getting big. She goes to bed at night and thinks: Maybe they won’t wake up in the morning or maybe a bomb will hit our house in the night. She hears about the children being killed in Gaza and thinks: They were like a flower that bloomed and was quickly gone. As we left we gave Em Ehab a sack of food. A volunteer was with us and she gave Em Ehab a scented candle. Without a doubt she is showing her neighbors the gift that her new American friend gave her. Please pray with us for Em Ehad. May that candle be symbolic of the witness we left behind. Ask that the light of that witness grow stranger and stronger.

Posted by P.L.

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