Sharing a Piece of Hope

Peace Mission Reflection by Dr. Almuhaimin Usman

 Amidst the chaotic scene of an evacuation center catering victims of Marawi siege, I was standing at a stage of a gymnasium, deaf to the loud noises. For a moment, my body was frozen while my eyes were weeping silently. I saw the pandemonium of struggle by everyone as he laid in a carton to rest his aching back, as she carried a pail of water from a common source for her siblings’ drink and as she watched over her sick elder sister. And I thought…. these people have lost everything, their homes, their livelihoods and their mothers and loved ones. Yet, they chose to pose a numb, poker face to cover up their disintegrating hearts. Where is the standard of humanity?

 Aside from the relief operations, our team did a psychosocial intervention for the children and youth exposed to this tragedy…. However, upon personal assessment, it was surprising to determine that the children were more afraid of losing their dreams and aspirations than being traumatized by the war. They wrote ‘Pano na ako makakapag aral ngayong pasukan? (How can I go to school this year?)’… This further drilled a hole in my heart.

 And then I met Babo….. Babo is an elderly lady who just arrived at the center. She said while tears dripping down her face (in Maranao dialect) Where can I get food? Please help me, my child… If I won’t be able to feed my hunger, I would rather go back to Marawi and die in the war…  I was speechless…

I learned that people in the evacuation center were within a spectrum of a state of struggle. Some are fighting bravely for survival while others are on the verge of giving up. Our tendency is to provide them with their basic needs such as food and temporary shelter. However, we might have forgotten something else that they need the most…… and that is:

HOPE….

For every kid’s smile and laughter in our activities, we helped them build their dreams again. For every honest conversation, we helped them carry the burden and uplift their spirits…. I pray that Allah will grant the victims HOPE to continue living their lives with dignity…

Thank you Teach Peace Build Peace Movement Team for sharing a piece of Hope…

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