The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi
Not too long ago I was sitting in Mali Khanda (the orphanage in Erbil) with a few of the kids and they shared with me their dreams of seeing an airplane in real life. I asked myself "why not?" which reminds me of the recipient of the1925 Nobel Prize in Literature, George Bernard Shaw, who said: "Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?"
These are children whose eyes sparkle with hope and happiness. Children who through their smile make you feel as though the world is still beautiful. Young boys and girls with personalities, with hope, with energy in them, yet they lack the single necessity to life: the love of a mother and a father.
A moment that I shall cherish in my memories for years to come was when I sitting in the garden outside the orphanage on the day that the kids were all in their best clothes to go and see an airplane. Surrounded by little toddlers, one playing with my hair, the little rebel climbing over my shoulders, and a few others holding my hands and sitting on my lap. I felt stronger than I have ever felt, I felt more hopeful than ever before, and I felt today my dream was coming true, even though I have probably travelled on a plane more than a dozen times in recent years.
At our arrival to the airport, the kids walked through the security checks, even though they did not have a passport, they took the journey of a traveller until boarding the plane and taking their seats. The expressions on their faces while stepping into the plane was magical. I would observe them one by one as they discovered every corner of something they had only dreamed of. Those minutes for me are what will remain with me, what will make me strong to believe it is possible to make things come true on this land. This maybe simple and small, but it is the simple and small things that make the greatest difference in our society.
I watched these children and helped them with their seatbelts. They looked inside, outside; they put down the window then put it up again. One of the older boys buckled his belt on his own and called out "Let's fly!" in Kurdish. I was speechless. How I wish we actually took off and flew to a new destination for the day. Another one called my name and joked "didn't you promise to take us to Europe?" I smiled, knowing I had never made a promise other than going inside a plane.
On the way back, listening to the kids tell their stories of the plane- who was scared and who was not, who was a good boy and who was a good girl, I looked up to a friend, "we did it!" I told her. Indeed, in Kurdistan dreams do come true.
Who would have thought the little children in the orphanage who look from their garden into the sky every time they hear a loud sound and watch a plane fly above their heads for few seconds would actually sit inside one? If you are in Kurdistan to work for others, to form a smile on the faces of those who deserve it, if you are here with a good intention- no one and nothing will let you down. Because there are Kurds everywhere who want to make dreams of others come true.
I wish for the kids to one day go to the airport, buckle their seats and go on a little vacation. Why not?