Fatia is 47 y/o mother of 11 who lives a Internally Displaced People Camp in Iraq. She married at age 14 and had her first baby at 15 y/o. Her 30 y/o son is a camp translator. She is a very sweet woman who loves people. She has suffered much loss in this war. Her beautiful home in SJ is damaged. Her husband was taken by IS and she doesn’t whether he is dead or alive. She does know he was in prison at one point and was tortured. An acquaintance was in prison at the same time and told her the soldiers would take her husband and hang him by his feet from the ceiling and let him drop to the floor. Now she wonders if he is still alive in prison somewhere.
She also lost a son to an awful death. He worked for the police force and was sent to an area where IS was active. While there he and all the men he was with were taken and beheaded along a remote road. He left behind a beautiful young wife, also a friend of mine, and 2 children. His younger brother married his widow.
I am blessed to call these women my friends. Recently, we sat in a tent and enjoyed some women time while eating nuts and fruit and sipping chai until late into the night. We laughed as we tried to understand each other with my limited Arabic. I endured a vigorous massage to my calves by the young widow. I love her smile, her laughter, her teasing. Fatia joins right in with hugs and kisses and teasing. By now the hijabs have slid from their heads and they are undoing their hair. We compare length of hair. We “talk” women things and wish we could talk fluently to each other, but none the less, we are grateful to have met. They speak of the good old days when they lived in a village enjoying fresh olives and figs. They miss these days and wonder if life will ever be like that again. They teach me lessons about smiling and loving even after so much loss. We show each other what it means to love your neighbor.