Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Live from Erbil- A dream comes true

To the greatest, most loyal and loveliest blog reader in the world!
Am kataw hamw katekt khosh!
What a day! Today felt like my dream was coming true. I was the happiest person you could ever think of. I felt like a bird flying in the sky…. (Okay I think I need to calm down, but baxwa today was incredible!).

The day began like this. At the garden of Mali Xanda, smiling but deep down had some worries that it might not work out
It all began a few weeks back when I had to explain to my children* in Mali Xanda why I had not seen them in so long. When they found out I had travelled abroad by a plane they began their fantasies and in the exact words my two daughters (Allah and Isra) had a dream to see a plane in real life. I tweeted it right then and there. It didn't take two days before I received a call from a friend who had read the tweet. This was our conversation:

Kak O: "Your kids want to go to the airport?"
Me: (Super excited voice) "yes! Yes! Yes!"
Kak O: I will try
Me: Promise me
Kak O: I won't promise. I will try.
Me: "Fine, but they need to go into the plane, not just visit the airport"
Kak O: (Thinking I am too selfish) coldly replied "I will try"
So the girls and I waited. Called. Waited. Got calls. I began to doubt.

[Two weeks later]

Kak O: Is tomorrow okay?
Me: (Super excited voice) "BARASTIIII?????^ Yes! Yes! Definitely okay!"

And then this was the story of today:

Sazan Mandalawi:

What a day! When I arrived all of them were in their best dresses, new
shoes, new dresses and all of them were super excited. I look for Isra
and Alla and I don’t see them. Their dad has taken them this week. I
am sad since they began this, they were the ones who first told me
their dream was to see a plane, realizing they were not there today
made me upset. But there was no time to think or be upset, we had a
I am sitting outside the orphanage the kids are on my lap, on my
shoulders… I am trying to explain how the plane looks like. After half
an hour the kids run of patience and my heart begins missing beats a
little nervous that EIA might say “no” phone calls come and go. We
decided to sit down and write little thank you notes to Kak O. who
made all this possible. It takes one phone call: ‘day waren’ I call
out ‘ba broyn’ and before I know it the room is empty and everyone is
near the mini van.
day sarkawn! Lets go!
Step closer to a dream coming true


Bewar most patient with the kids who cried, some were actually scared of the plane
As we started getting into the mini van, there our little kids began
explain their imagination, how a airplane would look like, when they
were asked what we use airplane for Hama and Mubin both 5 in age said
it is used for boys. In the car Daroon kept saying that she won’t come
into the airplane, she is terrified of plane, all the way to the
airplane she wept and I could tell that there was no way she would
ever get in to it, no matter how much other kids encouraged her said
they were not afraid and were excited to see the plane but nothing
would change her mind, later they were taken to a tour around the
airport showing them all around. I have learned from Mali Xanda that
making someone’s dream come true gives you the best feeling in the
world, looking at the excitement on the kids faces, the kids whom we
have been with for years was something beyond the power of words.
Inside Erbil International Airport

Ashna Shareff:

As I look at the kids and I realize how excited and happy they are
thinking about the trip to the airplane and I remember myself exactly
at their age, when I used to hold in my heart simple dreams. I
remembered the time when I used to watch movies, the planes flying in
the air, wishing I was right there in the plane flying in the air.
Today time took me back to those times when I was a little. I look
into the eyes of those kids and I see in them the world I used to
imagine when I was in their age, their eyes sparkling, their heart
dancing from joy. And then all of the sudden, I come back to the real
world, I see everywhere around little faces. One of the kids was
jumping from happiness, telling other kids that someday he is going to
become a pilot, another holding my hand terrified to get on to the
plane. And I smile because I know here I share with them those feeling
of excitement, and fear. I hold their hands, and together we walk, I
look at their dream right in front of us, knowing years from now I
will remember this moment. I will remember that I shared their dream.
Seatbelts fastened! They had the entire experience of travelling
Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar:

Lets go to Europe! Everyone took to their seats, and put their
seatbelts on, all anxious to see what the next step was, and where we
will be going. I wished to tell them that we’re all on our way to
Disney Land and that we’re going to have a great time there. Little
Aya who initially ran into my arms crying saying she was not allowed
to come (who is known to be a bit of a cheeky girl, sort of like me)
was the most spirited throughout the journey. One day, we will not
just sit on the plane for five minutes with big smiles but we will
fasten our seatbelts and fly out of the nest!
At our arrival to the airport, everyone is super excited
Close up.... we are minutes away from entering the plane
The story of these two brothers and sisters is a long and sad one, but their smile was worth the entire world today

Dreams come true in Kurdistan with Erbil International Airport and some dedicated individuals

Me (Sazan) posting pictures and Ruwayda adding comments!
Hamma gyan- he loves cars, planes and everything that is fast and speedy!
They were excited, but scared too. Some of them held our hands tightly

The kids did little thank you notes for Kak O and the airport staff....

Dear Kak O- while you preferred to remain behind the scenes, even though you made all this possible. From here I want to tell you that all those children who sleep with dreams, who will sleep tonight with a smile, who will sleep feeling loved, they will sleep thinking about their great day… it is because of you! I am sure if they could see you and if they could express they would tell you: ZOR SUPAS for making our dreams come true!
Thank you Kak O., thank you to all the great staff in Erbil International Airport, starting from the head of security all the way to the guards who were smiling the entire time. Thank you to the greatest Ruwayda, sweetest Ashna and the most special Bewar. I could not have asked for better friends in Hawler than you three. You make every mission possible. You make every job easy. Thank you for cancelling all your day's plans and making this a reality.
we had the entire bus to ourselves! Thank you Erbil International Airport

*They aren't really my kids. But the kids in Mali Xanda (the orphanage in Erbil) have become like my children, two of them in particular.
^ Kurdish word for really?!