Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

There was a young Syrian refugee woman living here in Malaysia. She and her husband were living with his brother and sister-in-law and their two kids. They decided to leave the country for a better life. Because they soon discovered that Malaysia was not going to be the land of opportunity for them. And they were expecting a baby. Had plans to eventually get to Germany via Georgia.

I was happy for them. Although a bit skeptical since they were doing this on their own. But waiting for a relocation through the UNHCR would take years and they did not want to wait. And I don’t blame them one bit.

I wished them well. Then immediately thought that the furniture we (group of volunteers) had found for them a few months prior could go to another refugee family in the area. A beautiful changing table, crib, etc. There is always a new baby being born to the many refugee families here. And I knew that if they were fleeing the country they would not be taking any furniture with them.

I told her sister-in-law that we would gladly take what was left behind and give to another expectant mother in the refugee community. I am all about the reuse, recycle and renew!

She told me that there wasn’t much left in the house. They had sold everything to raise money for their tickets.

At first, I was like, “Wow.” And to be quite honest I felt a little disappointed.

I told my husband.

He said, “Mary, when you give you give. With no strings attached and no expectations.”

I thought that I already was that person. But for some reason I thought this situation was different. Wouldn’t everyone want to pass along the things they couldn’t use to someone else in need?

I thought like this because I was thinking about my next step. And not theirs. Or thinking about their new needs.

They needed the money to survive their next journey to a better place for the family. Because that’s what survivors do.

My husband is absolutely right. No matter what the gift, if it is truly a gift, there should be no expectations.

I’m almost fifty years old and I am still learning and growing. Every day.


Note: The family is still in the country of Georgia. They had a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Unfortunately, it has been many months and they have not reached their intended destination. They do not like the country and I am not sure if they will make a go of it there. But they are surviving.









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Today is the start of a festive time for Muslims around the world. After a month of reflection.

And I know there are so many folks who won’t be able to celebrate with their loved ones in their own country. It’s sad. Even my own mother-in-law currently residing with us due to the conflict in Syria. Yes, she is with us. Safe and sound. But it’s not the same. She is sad that her children are scattered around the globe. Dubai, Canada, Syria and Malaysia. And not able to celebrate together. One year ago she was in Syria. With three of her children living nearby.

On the other hand, she is a very fortunate person to have her son who is providing her with a comfortable environment. And that is certainly something to reflect upon today.

Because there are loads of folks living in camps, on the streets and in that place called fear. Schooling is disrupted. Families torn apart. Death. Loss of shelter.

Here in Malaysia, there are many Syrian families living as refugees. Who don’t even have refugee status at this time. It can take a few years to obtain that. And then it means nothing. Except that maybe you won’t be forced out of the country. But as far as housing you are on your own. No legal employment. No assistance. No local schooling for your children. Can you imagine that? That your child cannot attend school. That you don’t know what the next meal or job will be.

It rots.

Thank God for charitable organizations.

My friends and I have “adopted” a Syrian family through one of these organizations. We provide basic pantry items on a monthly basis. The family consists of a couple with two small children. And a brother-in-law and sister-in-law (who is pregnant). The men hold doctorate degrees. But they are baking (under the table) for an income. The women are babysitting to earn money. You do what you have to do.

And they are better off than others.

I guess there is always someone “worse off” as they say.

So, I hope to take my mother-in-law to visit with them today. She has not met them before and I am hoping that any sadness she may feel will be alleviated by sharing and being with others.

I find that when I am feeling blue the best thing in the entire world for me is to do something for others. It makes me stop thinking about myself. At least, temporarily.

Happy Eid to all who celebrate. Especially those displaced. I sincerely hope that one day you will be able to celebrate with your loved ones. In the place you call home.

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