Alhamdulillah, Mujaahid was able to call a couple of days ago. It was such a relief to hear his voice. I asked him if he was getting fat, now that the blockade was over.
“Oh,” he said. “The first two days were like an Eid!!” He went on to say that many aid trucks were finally allowed in, including another one from the Red Cross.
“There’s so much flour and rice! They filled up all the storage places, and the school. The stores have everything now. Even the day after the blockcade was broken, there was chocolate, and pop.”
“I saw Ahmar,” he tells me. “I was up on the mountain when they started taking down the Houthi barricades.”
He tells me how Ahmar ordered the bulldozer to begin destroying the barricades. Apparently one of the Houthi generals hadn’t quite gotten the message that the gig was up- he walked over and put his hand on the bulldozer to stop it. Ahmar aimed his machine gun at him. He got out of the way, quickly.Gotta love that tribal justice.
Each day they took down more, of the Houthi barricades, so now they are all gone. While the Houthis continue to fight in different areas, they are leaving Damaaj alone now. The students can move freely both within the village, and back and forth out of it. He tells me that one of my students, a wonderful Indian sister, left; her son was one of the ones killed in the fighting, may Allaah have mercy upon him, and she lost heart after his death. She is going to Saudi to join her husband. I wish I could find her, talk to her, give her a hug.
Mujaahid is back at work, there is fuel for the generators and such, and the internet is back on.
“I’ve been reading your posts about the blockade,” he says. I feel a little funny, knowing that he is reading them. Somehow it is different, it being someone so close to me, rather than strangers.
“So now you’re famous,” I joke, and am rewarded by his laugh. I tell him about how messed up the Western media is concerning the whole issue- just the day before I had read an article talking about the Houthis claiming human rights violations due to the breaking of the blockade. The hypocrisy of this leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth.
Talk turns to our trip, and how things are here. He asks about the children and the house. Our conversation is easy and relaxed, without the feeling of anxiety that I felt before, while the blockade and fighting were still going on. I tell him the package we made up for them before we left should be in Sana’a. I picture little Suhayb finally getting his banana milk, toys, and sweets, and baby Yasmeen in the cute little outfits I made for her.
“Everything’s okay now,” he assures me. “Classes have started, everything is back to normal.”
I am thankful; both that the blockade and fighting are over, and that he has come through it alright. I know that his experience has to have taught him patience, and hope that it has given him some wisdom and insight into bigger issues. I enjoy the thought of his little family with all that they need again- as Allaah tells us in the Qur’aan, after the hardship will come the ease.
I pray for the Muslims everywhere who are oppressed, that they, too, will experience victory, and ease after the hardships they have endured, sometimes for decades. And always, I pray for guidance for all of us…