Picture
I don’t know how she got here or how she manages without a word of English, but there she was walking along a busy road on a rainy day swathed in a long black dress with a scarf covering her head.
I passed her going the other way and wondered how far she had to go. There were no sidewalks, so she teetered along the white line on a narrow, but busy city street. 
I checked to see if anyone was going to run into me before I swung Finn (that’s the name of my car) around in a commercial parking entrance and pulled up to her.
Lowering the window, I asked her, “Do you want a ride?”
She smiled. She may have no understanding of most English words, but she knew she was getting an offer of transportation and shook her head up and down as she opened the passenger door.
I cleared my shopping bags off her seat, throwing them in the back and started up in the direction she had been walking.
“Where are we going?” I said, and she smiled and nodded. "OK," I was thinking, "this is going to be tougher than I thought…."
“Straight?” I asked as I pointed down the road. “Street,” she answered, nodding. I continued to try to talk to her (and no, I didn’t raise my voice, thinking that might help her to understand). 
Finally, when I asked her where she was from, she understood.  “Syria,” she said softly. So now I knew or I think I know why she has that hanging-on-by-her-fingernails look. “Where are your children?”…I made rocking the baby motions. “School,” she said. I said, “they’ll do very well here.” This time I was smiling and nodding and she smiled, showing a need for dental work that she is too poor right now to get.
Against a back drop of the execution of more than 150 women in one town for refusing to “marry” ISIS militants, she is lucky. But how lucky would any of us feel having been ripped from our homes and inserted into a community that cannot communicate with us, that suspects us, and to whom we are strangers in every possible way.
With hand signaled directions I managed to get her to her apartment—more than a mile from where I had picked her up. 
As we sat for a moment in front of her apartment, I could actually feel the softness and sorrow in her heart, and I noticed she has beautiful eyes. (BTW, the picture above is not Rehab, but boy, does it look like her.) 
Anyway, before she got out of my car, she said "cafe?" I must have looked puzzled, because she began to mime picking up an invisible china cup from the "saucer" of her outstretched palm. She was asking me in for coffee.
I had to decline, I was headed to an appointment. She was thanking me profusely. "Thank you Madam, thank you," she said over and over. I told her my name was Nancy and she told me her's was Rehn. We exchanged phone numbers and I left. Now, regretting that I didn't take the time to just be with her, even if it did mean another twenty minutes of sign language. 
When I picked her up, I admit, I had very little idea where we were headed and I don’t really know where Rehab and I go from here. But one thing is certain, we'll see each other again.
-Nancy

 


Comments

05/01/2016 5:28pm

Oftentimes, we judge people by their looks. With the ISIS "taking over" the world, we often conclude that when one is a Muslim, he/she is a terrorist. I believe in humanity once more when I read articles like this one. Even though the writer didn't know what kind of a person Rehn was and she was wearing a Muslim outfit, Nancydidn't have a second thought in helping her and was willing to take her home even though she has an appointment. I was also surprised that they exchanged numbers to get to know each other. We must be compassionate to all kinds of people because we don't know what they are going through so we have no right to judge them.

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05/20/2017 10:45am

I am not the only one who gets depressed whenever I hear stories about oppressed women in other countries. It's frustrating not being able to do anything about their condition. They are raised to believe it's the norm. We thought they are not acting against it out of fear. The truth is most of them are not interested in being "saved" They just want to live a life away from danger and their minds are closed to any changes that might cause them harm.

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06/20/2017 5:57am

It actually feels good whenever I read posts like this. I admire you for not being rude and judgmental to those people around you. People nowadays tend to judge people through their looks, their race or ethnicity which I think is not really good for we still don’t know who they are and what they are. With all the happenings in the world nowadays, what we need right now is to actually help one another and we can start it by understanding each other first and I believe the rest will follow.

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05/28/2016 11:30pm

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01/31/2017 8:47pm

You're such a nice woman with a kind heart. In this world that is full of racism and discrimination, I believe there are only few people like who are willing to help regardless of their religion, race or color. I admired your hard work and long patience to help this Syrian girl. You're a great example of a good Samaritan. I hope people like you will increase.

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"I think every person has their own identity and beauty. Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring."

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I pray that everyone would have a safe home for now. This is my only wish!

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