This morning I awoke to a sound I hadn’t heard in years. A dull roar that filled the air around me with sound. The electricity was out, so when I made my way to the window and looked out, all I saw was the pre-dawn blackness. Usually, though, the darkness of night here is silent and still. This morning it was tumbling and rolling like a wild beast.
“Rain,” I thought. “It must still be raining.” The night before, when I was on the roof with the children, we had felt a few sprinkles, and later there had been thunder and lightning and a steady fall of rain from the sky. The sun, when it came, proved me wrong.
As the scene outside my window became clearer, I realized that the field beside my house was moving. It appeared to have pulled up all stakes and decided to head straight out to the ocean. The roaring was the laughter of an impromptu river created by the heavy downpour of the night before. The water had to be three feet deep, brown and fast-flowing, tripping over itself in its eagerness to reach the Sea. People lined up along its edge, watching it go by, many with umbrellas to shelter them from the sprinkles that were still falling from the sky, most of them just bareheaded and barefoot. It made me think of another flood in another time, when I was a child in Gays Mills. The Kickapoo overflowed its banks and the village below us was surrounded by muddy river water.
“I guess it’ll get rid of the garbage,” observed Juwairiyah.
“Well, the old garbage,” I replied. “You can be sure it will leave new garbage in its wake.”
And so our Eid began, with rain and floods and no power, making it different from every other Eid. I couldn’t help but think of it as a gift, making our last Eid in this beautiful country extra special. We had hot dogs, soda, and french fries- all things we rarely eat- and the day before Sukhailah and the girls made cake and some cookies. We were so pleased that we had made them a day early, alhamdulillah, because the only oven we have is an electric one given to us by a friend who moved to Egypt. A great blessing in times of propane shortage, but a bit of a problem when there is no electricity.
We all shared our gifts, many of which were handmade. The girls had made me a little basket with homemade body butter, facial spray, oatmeal scrub, and silky powder. They made their father ginger candy and peanut clusters. Hudhafiah gave his siblings an art kit he had put together. Maryam made some lavender pillows (with a little help from her sisters and me) and she and Mu’aadh made some beaded jewelry for all the girls. Nusaybah crocheted a bear for Maryam and a little cat for Asmaa. Alhamdulillah, everyone enjoyed both the making of the gifts, and the giving of them.
In the evening Mujaahid called. When they woke up Eid morning and headed out to pray at the nearby masaajid, they were shocked to see cows tethered throughout the village. One cow for every 121 families, as it turned out. Someone had snuck them through the blockade at night so that they villagers could have an Eid treat after all. Some of the stores kept back sodas and brought them out for the day- so while the children had no cookies or sweets, they did have soda, alhamdulillah.
Suhayb, of course, was terrified of the wild cows. So much for my Wisconsin genes coming through, mash’Allaah.
“It started out a little sad,” he said, “but it ended up being a really great day.”
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