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Yemeni Journey

From the Front Part 14

One of the toughest things I have ever done in my life was to leave Yemen a week ago. I still feel as if half of my heart- or more- is still in that beautiful, troubled country. One of the things that made it even harder was knowing that I was leaving my son, Mujaahid, and his family in Damaaj, still under the oppression of the Houthi blockade.

Our plane to Sana’a was scheduled for Saturday morning. Friday, late, the phone rang. It was Mujaahid; I immediately called him back on his cell phone, as the landlines were still down. Perched on the edge of an old couch pillow, staring at the pile of luggage in the middle of the room, I braced myself for my last conversation with Mujaahid for what could be a very long time.

“How are you doing?” Our traditional opening question. The answer to this one is always “Fine” no matter what might come up later to disprove the assertion.

I had heard rumors that the blockade had been eased, but I wasn’t sure if I could believe them. I waited for Mujaahid to mention something, but he didn’t. Finally I asked him.

“Anything new?”

“Why, what have you heard?” I told him, and he replied that yes, it did seem that an agreement had been reached- he hadn’t wanted to tell me until they were sure, so that I wouldn’t have false hopes. Yes, I did want to strangle him, just a little.

It turns out that Jamal Omar, of the UN had visited the village, as had several members of the Yemeni government. Apparently they had worked out a cease fire and deal with the Houthis for a temporary reprieve, at least. Aid trucks that had been held up for weeks were finally allowed through, and Mujaahid was looking forward to getting some food staples for his family the next day.

“It’s like light after dark,” he said. “People are walking around, talking, laughing again.” Indeed, I could hear people all around him, as he talked outside to get better reception. He told me about the food they expected to get.

“You know that saying about ‘hunger is the best sauce’. I thought about it every time I ate in the last couple of months.”

So it seems the ease has finally come after the hardship, insh’Allaah. I have not heard from Mujaahid since coming back, and am simply hoping that the cease fire led to an agreement, however temporary it may be. Am I worried? Well, maybe a little. Mostly I just miss my first born son, who was my partner in the days when it was just me and him in the world. I worry about little Suhayb, who was sick when last we spoke. I look forward to him and his family going down to Sana’a for a little rest and to get medical attention (“I’ll write my memoirs” he told me, that last conversation). I pray that everything will work out soon, knowing that Allaah is the Best of Planners. I look forward to hearing his voice again someday, insh’Allaah.

Until then, we wait, and we pray.

From the Front Part 13

From the Front Part 12

Reply to Thurayah StoehrCancel reply

6 comments

Mary M-S on January 4, 2012 3:00 am Reply

Oh Khadijah, you have a knack for pulling my heart strings. Your tenderness and absolute faith no matter the circumstances are an inspiration. Your family must be so proud of you, and must love you so deeply. May you stay safe, and all of your family wherever they area.

Khadijah on January 4, 2012 3:07 am Reply

Thank you, Mary. I have been blessed with so much, both in the ease of life and its hardships- and the greatest blessing of all was embracing Islaam…

Joyce Spurgin on January 4, 2012 4:29 am Reply

I know this is such a bittersweet time for you. I am glad that you and your husband and other children are safer now (Are we ever really safe?) However, my heart aches for you having to leave your oldest son and his family so far away and with so many unanswered questions and no way to help him either in Yemen or from here in the United States. I send my blessings and prayers for all of you.

Umm Abdillaah on January 5, 2012 1:27 am Reply

Alhamdulillaah. How beautiful. May Allaah keep your family safe and bless you for your patience in this life and the next, amin

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Thurayah Stoehr on January 7, 2012 4:30 pm Reply

Dear Khadijah, I guess I was so much more hopeful that this was a more permanent solution tothe situation, but as you and Mujaahid say so well, it is in Allaah’s hands and we wait and pray and send our love, Thurayah