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Hanna and the joy she found

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ISRAEL | Tuesday, 16 April 2013 | Views [727]

Why this aqua age girl stares at me? Does she know I’m lost? In a maze of Old Jerusalem traditional market, I sit and stare back at her with smile and think that the look she have could make a future beauty model in my home country.  With a flat face mimic she walks toward me and pointing shyly at my head trying to give polite instruction of how I should cover all my hair with scarf. My hand is busy holding a tab keep trying to find a way back to hotel, instead of fixing my head scarf properly I start to type “What’s your name?” she replies verbally “Ishra.” I ask more “Do you speak English? Are you from Jerusalem?” she says “Yes, Palestinian”. 

The news all over media has brainwashed my thought when I hear that asking for a clear status country, Palestine. I was eager to ask her “Are you okay? Do you feel safe?” but I hold my tongue from many questions and give my scarf a better covered look on my head. She asked me if she can borrow the tab I’m holding. Without instruction Ishra (surprisingly) knows how to use map application and shows where we were and asked “Would you like to see more of Jerusalem?”  Without doubt I respond “Yes, guide me.”

We went to Mosque Salahuddin another historical mosque in Jerusalem. Hidden quite far from the main street; the mosque got an important history as she explained "This is also my school, Madrasah". Number of kids are there reading in a modest class with old furniture and others are playing on the small mosque's field although it's a holiday time for them. Ishra explains mosque school is their favorite place, I guess silently it's because that's where they can mark their territory, play freely, and learned. She introduced me to her teacher, parents, people she knows that we met along the way.

They enthusiastically asked about my country of origin, not a single word of religion or political matters while me from outside where they live would like to know because I need to be enlightened from what I saw and heard. On that moment the lost soul inside changed into warm simple happy feeling. Ishra probably knows what I very much would like ask her, and without words or long explanation she showed it through our half day trip. Right in the moment before our unexpected encounter ends, she read my mind and says "Palestine and its people are beautiful; I would like to live here forever." I smile but sad to say goodbye.

Tags: world nomads travel writing scholarship 2013

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