Under the Same Sky
As Hummingbird witnessed death and destruction in her homeland of Syria, on the other side of the world her friend and mentor Sarah was mourning the loss of her family members. In each other, they have found healing and a way forward.
It is August, 1962, in southern New Hampshire. A bony-kneed, nine-year-old girl is having a tea party with her two older sisters in the forest, up in a sturdy tree on a splintery wood platform nailed together by their father. Their mother makes dinner at their house down the hill while their father, a Harvard scholar, sequesters himself in his study with what will be lifelong depression. Outwardly, the girl and her siblings will live lives of privilege, but they will always carry a huge sadness.
It is the summer of 1990 in a small village atop a mountain in Syria. Another nine year-old girl with very curly hair sits in a fig tree on her grandfather’s land, watching the sunset and accepting the offerings of sweet figs from the tree mother. The girl strides everywhere, anywhere, just to be away from her troubled home from sunrise to sunset. Though she is punished by her mother every time, the next day she will do it all over again. She is addicted to escape, to wandering, discovering, and dreaming. Her father will soon leave the family forever.
2010, Westchester County, just north of New York City: Sarah, once that bony-kneed girl, is now a middle-aged woman sitting across from one of her sisters at her father’s bedside. They are gently stroking their father’s oddly hot, skeletal hands as he takes his last breath. The week after her father dies, Sarah joins World Pulse as a volunteer mentor to fulfill her community service for Interfaith seminary. She has no idea, yet, how great a source of healing her connection to World Pulse will become.
2011, Dubai: The curly-haired Syrian girl is now a young woman living with helpless anger as violent government crackdowns on peaceful protestors take over a number of cities in her homeland. She knows that she needs to break the silence and speak up. There is no longer any place left for the carefree girl exploring the beauty of the Syrian countryside, eating sweet figs. She begins surfing the Web for a platform where she can cast her voice across the planet like a wide net, speaking out about what is happening. This is how she discovers World Pulse. Six months after the conflict in Syria begins, she becomes a Correspondent in World Pulse’s Voices of Our Future digital empowerment training program. Writing on World Pulse, she starts to unveil her truth. She speaks out under the alias Hummingbird and begins to realize the power of her voice.
In Their Own Words
In September of 2011, World Pulse pairs us together as Correspondent and Mentor. Before meeting online, we are asked to begin our relationship by writing each other letters of love and intent.
How wonderful that we will soon be connected! There’s no doubt that when we extend ourselves to others our own healing begins . . .
I became active in heightening awareness and supporting other women after I’d had breast cancer. Since then I have been called to the work of empowering women. With great admiration and respect for your crucial work as one of the Voices of the Future Correspondents, I will be here to support you in every way…”
I was very happy to be chosen as a Voices of Our Future Correspondent, and I am honored to communicate with you. I read your introduction and I felt proud to be connecting with a strong and determined person.
I am sorry to use an alias, but the situation in Syria is very dangerous these days because the ruling gangs are going after anyone they believe is opposing them, whether the person is an activist or not. Even those of us who live outside Syria now have families and friends in danger . . ."
We meet for the first time, via Skype, in November of 2011. . . .