Under the Same Sky
Sarah (New York): When I first saw Hummingbird’s lovely face and heard her gentle voice, I loved her instantly. Neither of us have children, but we cemented our connection through our love and respect for animals. I was struck by her dignity and quiet determination in the face of the gross injustices ravaging her people.
She works tirelessly via social media to get the word out that her beloved Syria is being destroyed. But as a Kurdish Syrian, Hummingbird is considered persona non grata, invisible, according to her government. From her, I heard for the first time heartbreaking details of the Syrian conflict. For the first time I had a close connection to a war zone on the other side of the world.
Hummingbird (Dubai): When I first met Sarah on Skype, I found her full of life. Her smiling spirit surrounded me tenderly. I was a little bit shy, but she made me feel welcomed and beloved and secure to open up and release my thoughts. She got me laughing, and our love and respect for earth’s creatures brought us closer together. When Sarah first told me about her dogs I was listening like an eager child to the stories about the two lovely souls. Like Sarah, they are full of fun with kind hearts. I was amazed by Sarah’s career, her dedication to what she believes in, and her strength to survive. I was very lucky to have her as my mentor.
Over the five months of the Voices of Our Future training program, we become bosom friends, often resurfacing from despair to laughter, with the support of our husbands, the adoration of our animal companions, and the solace taken in the messages and strong voices of the other courageous World Pulse Correspondents from around the world.
When there is another massacre in Syria, I immediately reach out to Sarah. Working long hours, weary and discouraged, I email her, “I feel like running outside, naked and screaming.” Sarah, in her eleventh year of parent care and desperately out of fuel despite the help of her sisters, believes that she knows exactly what I mean, albeit on a different level. With nature always as her source of peace, Sarah advises me, “Go outside during your lunch hour and sit, for five minutes–or whatever you can eek out–at that pond with the ducks. Watch them swim, breathe deeply and just let that fleeting, organic serenity engulf you. That’s all you can do at this moment.” So I do.
Sarah: By September 2011, Hummingbird has been chosen as one of three World Pulse Voices of Our Future Correspondents to come to the US for a speaking tour, during which the trio will tell their stories from Portland to Washington, D.C. in person, on radio, television, and live stream.
When her plane lands in New York, I am fifty miles away, visiting family. I’m grieving over my mother’s continued and now alarming diminishment; she has had Parkinson’s disease for twenty-five years and, once so literary and clever, can no longer read or write. Once so warm and loving she is now only relentlessly anxious. She has become a shadow, both physically and psychologically. As Hummingbird loses her country, I am losing my family.
Later that week, Hummingbird and I meet in person at last. . . .