A Few Days Ago, We All Fell In Love by Zoe Wild

A few days ago, we all fell in love. Walking along the busy city streets in the rosy dusk, rushing to a meeting, I noticed a small waif of a boy leaning against a railing, reluctantly holding a packet of tissues for sale. I knew we were running late, and yet my gut made my feet halt in their tracks. “Sam, ask him if he’s in school.” We began talking to K. He is 9 years old, not attending any school. His tattered clothes and sockless feet betray his family’s challenges.

He is from Syria, outside Damascus. His family fled here 5 months ago. They had been hiding underground during a bombing when his father and uncle had been killed, his aunt badly burned. His mother took him, his 15 year old sister, her two young sons, and three nieces and nephews and fled to Turkey. Much of the family is still there, in a town under seige, eating dirt and grass to survive. His mother is paralyzed. Though he hasn’t been to school, K. is so smart, counting to ten in English, Turkish and Arabic.

His shy smile and the embers in his eyes would melt the world.

We agreed to meet him the next day, and he took us to his house – a hovel on the side of a hill, million dollar views from a broken down shack. We met his mother, who sits on the floor of a small room, and he brought out tea, with roses from the garden. She cried and recounted the story above. She can’t move, so K. is her legs and hands she said. She has cancer but can't afford treatment. She wants him to go to school but they can’t afford it, they live off the $1-2 per day he makes selling tissues. They are about to be evicted. She tells us how K. saves the little sick birds he finds – and he brings them out for us to play with – she tells us how he feeds them before he feeds himself.

We stay for a long time, she calls us her children. With your donation money, we are able to offer to buy her a wheelchair so she is not stuck on the floor, and to pay for K.’s education. He is embarrassed to go to school in the rags he was wearing, so we buy him new pants, a tshirt, jacket, backpack, and school supplies. We buy the family groceries, and shwarma sandwiches, which K. wolfs down into his scrawny figure like he hasn’t eaten in a week.

Outside, after hearing the story, Sam and I exchange looks “don’t do it” I say… but the tears are already there, as we hold each other. This story is so common – and these people so precious. Such a fragile line between our good fortune and their calamity. Why? We are the same. We fight over who gets to adopt them in our fantasy world where we can bring all families home with us.

Because of your donations, K. had his first day of school today – he is so excited – his future has changed, four children went to bed well fed - and his mother can move around on her own again.

Thank you. Shukran. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

You are changing lives with your kindness, generosity and love.

<3 Zoë

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