In June, 2006, Sami was kidnapped by his father and has been held in Yemen ever since.
My daughters are still there, but my son is coming home.
I wasn’t sure it would actually happen, so I waited until he boarded his plane.
It’s a 5-day trip (there are no direct flights, so it’s take a plane, land, wait, take another one, land, wait, etc).
There’s a Party
They say reverse culture shock is worse than the initial culture shock.
Years ago, when I went to Japan, after I got on the plane, it hit me.
I was beyond terrified. I thought, “Oh my God! I’m going across the world by myself. I don’t know anyone except my friend, Sono. ” I was so scared.
When I arrived, Sono and her parents picked me up at the airport.
When I got to their house, I walked in, and instantly, the biggest grin formed, and all my worry and fear melted away. They had decorated the house with a huge “Welcome home” sign. There were flowers for me and gifts. In an instant, I knew it was going to be okay.
I want that for Sami.He doesn’t remember being American or being in America. For him, coming here feels foreign, and he feels like he has no connections here other than me.
I know that feeling. It’s not good. And feeling that on top of the mental distress he’s already dealing with isn’t cool, either.
So I want to have a party at Plum Creek Park in Kent where I always took them to play and where I had all their birthday parties every year.
It would be soooo incredible if there were some people to show up to support him.It would be amazing if people were there with signs saying “Welcome home” and “We missed you, Sami”.
I want him to feel that he’s home, that he’s wanted here, that he belongs here. Because he does.
Since he will be living an hour from me to attend Kent State University, I’m afraid he’s going to feel even lonelier (I don’t know, but I fear that).
A party where he realizes there are people who care, people who miss him…..he could feel a bit at ease, I think. Maybe start to feel like this IS his home. Or jog a memory….
But, you know it’s been 13 years. There are few now who remember him or who would even show up to such a party.
So, I’m asking you to come.To go out of your way simply to do something nice for someone you don’t even know.
A NEW BEGINNING
This was a news story from 2006. Horrible times. Best forgotten.
But today is a brand-new day.
FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2019
PLUM Creek park, Shelter #2, Kent, OH
5 – 7 pm
590 Plum St, Kent, OH 44240
THIS IS A SURPRISE PARTY!
THINGS CAN CHANGE
It would be pretty horrible if I took Sami to Plum Creek Park on July 12 and no one showed up.
If you will come, please let me know.
Also, things can change and I’m winging this as I go, so if you are going, please tell me AND leave some way to contact you in case something comes up and things change (e.g., email address, SMS number, etc.).RSVP NOW!
What the Heck is Yemen?
Here are some quick facts about Yemen – a third-world country below Saudi Arabia:
There’s been a war going on for over 4 years, which means:
- There’s been no electricity other than from those who have a solar panel.
- All embassies and most companies and organizations fled the country years ago.
- The airports were bombed and put out of commission (so no mail!)
- The bombs having been falling daily, mostly targeting civilians, hospitals, and even a bus-load of kids.
- The ports were blocked, so most of the country is starving to death.
- Most people are shell-shocked and frightened from the war and bombs.
- The Houthi’s rule through violence and terror.
- Yemen has been dubbed “The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis”.
I’ve known all these things, but sometimes, you don’t realize how far consequences of war go.
A month ago, I was talking to Sami on the phone.
He mentioned how he washes himself with ice-cold water and how he closes his eyes and does it as fast as possible.
I said “Why cold water? What about that gas water heater that hangs there by your bathroom?”.
We haven’t had running water or HOT water in 4 years! Without electricity, there are no pumps to pump water into the house.
Prices have gone up 1000% or more, and propane is expensive anyway.
But we are lucky.
Most people have no water at all.
You know we buy water and have trucks bring it. They put it in a tank in the front yard.
Most people can’t afford water these days, so there are water tanks in the street now.
You know Muslims have a duty to do charity, so every so often, someone will purchase water to put in the street tanks.
And families line up – some with 15 kids! They’ll wait in line for hours to get a small, 4-gallon bucket of that donated water.
Then they’ll take it home and try to make it last for a week or two. It’s so sad.
Sami hasn’t had it easy, by any means.
So, please consider taking 20 minutes out of your life to come and say “Welcome Home”.