The Existential  Traveller

                       EXPLORE YOUR DREAMS, ENHANCE YOUR MIND, ENRICH YOUR SOUL


                                                       Bridging Borders since 1984

 

                WADI RUM    1993
            Yemen   1987
Cambodia
India 1987
Rawalpinddi
Tajik Market
BRIDGING BORDERS .......PEOPLE TO PEOPLE



 ONE OF THE GREATEST PRIVILEGES OF TRAVELLING IS MEETING PEOPLE AND REALIZING THAT FOR THE MOST PART OUR SIMILARITIES ARE VASTLY GREATER THAN OUR DIFFERENCES.


                 IRAQ                   WINTER   OF 1990        

Our small group had been in the capital, Baghdad, of this
ancient country for several days and now were in the process of heading north - Tikrit, Mosul and In Mosul we stopped for a short break.  As I stepped off the bus, a young Arab woman looked at me and said 'Ayish inta?"   Who are you?  I responded 'Ana Amerikya'  I'm an American   She said "No, you can't be American; we never see American tourists here."
We both laughed and after a brief chat she said "Come with me.  I want you to meet my family". 
By that time the others in the group were off the bus and
listening intently to our conversation.   The invitation had been issued. Many in the group were suspicious, fearful about accepting.  I had my own reservations, but decided an opportunity such as this shouldn't be missed.
So, off we went.
After a 5 minute or so walk through the commercial areas into something more residential, we arrived at a
small mud brick structure - one door, no windows and our hostess invited  us in "Ahlan wa Sahlan"
As we stepped into the very small 2 room house - one room for sleeping with floor mats all over, the other room for everything else, we immediately filled the house with people
An Arab man stood, observing us in his home,  again Ahlan wa Sahlan
"Salam aleekum:"  
Peace be unto you.  He was very tall,more than 6 feet, slender and straight.  He had great personal dignity.   His wife, a very short plump woman, smiled a lot but never said anything during our visit.


The younger woman introduced us to her two sons, about 5 and 7 years o.  She said that her husband had been killed in the ongoing war between Iraq and Iran, and that she was now living with her father in law and mother in law.

Almost immediately our host invited us to have coffee and motioned for us to be seated.   I felt that our group should not impose on these people who had so little but also understood that refusing would be a great insult.
So we sat on the sleeping, sitting, pallets,and our host began making coffee on the grill on the mud floor.  Our group was 11 people; there were two cups.   As our host made and served coffee, he handed a cup to each person individually and then we returned it to him empty. passing the cup from one to the next.

We sat in silence for a short time and then I said   "We must get back to our  bus; our driver is waiting to continue the journey"   
Shocked, our host protested   La, la   No No    We all  expressed our appreciation and  rose.to leave.  Our host said
        "Thank you for coming.  We wanted you to stay for lunch."

                   WINTER  1990- A small incident - a travel experience. No one of us, nor the Iraqi family, could imagine the horrors which would begin a few months later.  But among others, that encounter remains vivid in my mind.
           That small moment in time enhanced my determination to to try to relate,to understand  one person at a time.

           This is not the way of our world, but it is the only path available to us which ensures the continuation of our world. People to People, one person at a time.

Al Hasa
     My Acts Begin to Define and Create Who I Am