On the train to the North East at the weekend I helped a 14 yr old girl, on her first journey on her own in England. She had just arrived from Gaza.
Her brother helped her on at Kings Cross and explained she was travelling alone and spoke little English. Would I keep an eye out for her? Happy to help – and it turned out we were both getting out at the same station.
When I greeted her in my very few words of Arabic her nervous silent face transformed into a huge warm smile. As she settled into the journey, reading her book, she was self-contained, quietly confident.
She kept looking out of the window, amazed. “It’s so green!” she said “It’s so open!” She was born in Belfast and has a British passport. Many Gazans have no passport. “I was meant to come last year, but you know…” I said I only knew from the news on telly, which is not really knowing. I asked how it is now. “We are living in hell.” She said it straighforwardly. “But I will do my best to make it better. I belong to Gaza AND the world. We all share this world. I pray for peace.” As we pulled into the station, she gave me a gift – a small hand-embroidered glasses case.
I am happy to have it, I gave nothing in return other than sharing her prayer and hope.
Creating a sense of Belonging sounds simple but it can cause complex challenges. We help make it easy.