Stories of Refuge

Yesterday afternoon I ventured to Philadelphia and saw part II of Tania El-Khourey’s ear-whispered. Stories of Refuge is interactive; the participants lay in bunk beds, similar to what refugees would sleep on in camps, and you listen to their stories of refuge in Arabic. On the wall in front of the beds, you can see footage from the person speaking, with the English translations. There are three stories.

I’m speechless; while these stories brought me to tears, there is still hope for the living. Unlike in Gardens Speak where the dead tells us of their stories, there is still hope for the living. There is hope that they can become German residents, learn German, learn English, find love, raise children, that their children become healthy adults. And maybe, just maybe, they might be able to go back to Syria some day.

Before I left, I chatted with the gallery owner and discussed what I wrote above. She agreed; there is still hope for the refugees, and there is still hope that others will continue to help.

Last night before I caught the bus home, I ordered the photos for my Happiness Box, and as I was waiting for the pictures, the guys in front of me were speaking Arabic. I asked the one, “Arabic?” He nodded his head, yes, and we began talking in Arabic. They were from Lebanon. It’s indeed such a small world – we had a blast chatting for several minutes. They said my Arabic was pretty good. 🙂


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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

2 thoughts on “Stories of Refuge”

  1. Hi, Jessica-Marie!

    Your post reminds me of the old Coca-Cola advertising jingle that became a hit record: “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony).” That’s exactly what you are doing. Wherever you go, you are reaching out to strangers, different types of people from different countries and cultures, taking genuine interest in them and turning them into friends. If only we could mass produce people like you, we would have a better world. Thank you for telling me about Stories of Refuge, part 2 of Tania El-Khourey’s interactive program, and showing me the picture you took with the group of Lebanese men. You truly are an ambassador of goodwill.

    Have a wonderful week, dear friend JM!


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