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Yemeni Journey

From the Front Part 4

Day 18 of the blockade, Mujaahid called me this morning with an update- every time the phone rings and it’s him I thank Allaah that the phone system is still up and running. When I lived in the village and the fighting was going on the phones were off for several months, so I keep praying that that doesn’t happen again.

Latest development- yesterday the Houthis came down off the mountain shooting. They killed one person and injured three. So far the shooting is confined to one area of the village where there is a relatively large open space. The villagers have so far abstained from shooting back; instead they have deserted the area where the rebels are.

“Don’t stick your head out the window.” My teasing sounds a bit feeble, but I don’t want him to know how worried I am.

“I have to go to work,” he answers. “But it’s easy to get there because they built a deep trench to walk through the wadi so we can’t get shot.”

Ah. Well, that’s comforting. I guess.

The wadi is a seasonal watercourse that separates the two main parts of the village. Mujaahid lives on one side, and the phone center he works at is on the other side.

“I can’t imagine anyone will have to use the phones with the fighting going on,” I venture.

“It faces the masjid, it’s safe,” he assures me.

I hesitate to tell him what we are planning for the Eid the next day, Sunday. Obviously they are not going to doing much, and I hate to belittle what they are going through by telling him what we are planning.

“We won’t be able to gather,” he says. I’m not surprised- it has been a few years since the people of the village could gather for the prayer outside, as is legislated, due to the chance of the Houthis on the mountain deciding to shoot them like fish in a barrel. But then he goes on to say they can’t even hold it in the main masjid, as it is too dangerous.

“But I bought a soda a few days ago- there isn’t any left in the stores- nothing on the shelves anymore but Clorox and soap. But I got some before it ran out,”

“Oh, and a bag of candy and suckers for Suhayb.”

I think of times when we were low on money and resources, but nothing ever compared to what they are going through. He goes on to tell me that he was going to get a chicken and Hiyaat’s mother was going to barbecue it over wood and charcoal.

“It’ll be good,” he says. “It better be, it’s all we have.”

“Hiyaat’s mother found three cans of peas somewhere, I don’t know how she did it,” he adds, brightening a bit. “She gave us one. It’s like having meat or something, it’s such a treat.”

At some point he tells me the water has run out as well. They have to stand for hours hoping to get some. I think of Hiyaat, trying to nurse a baby on a little bread and water each day. I don’t want to worry him, but I mention my concern.

“I bought a can of milk before that we put aside- you know, for an emergency.” How long a can of milk will last with a baby is something I decide not to dwell on. And without water? Mash’Allaah.

“When will someone decide that enough is enough?” I ask. “I mean, how will they decide it’s bad enough that everyone should leave?”

Silence. Then, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The conversation winds down, as we talk about the baby’s cold and if there are any herbs that could help her. I hate to hang up, to sever the ethereal connection I have with him at that moment. I look for the words to say, how to tell him I’m proud of him and that he’s a good husband and father and that I miss him more than he can imagine.

Instead, I promise to try to call on the Eid, and let everyone talk to him, Hiyaat and Suhayb.

Until then, we wait, and we pray.

From the Front Part 3

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9 comments

Susan Albert on November 5, 2011 5:20 pm Reply

Khadijah, you remind us of the uncertainties of life in a war zone, and the daily heroism of just getting through it. Hoping that the situation will improve for you and your family–and wishing you a Happy Eid (in spite of everything).

Khadijah on November 11, 2011 5:21 am Reply

Thank you Susan. It also makes me think of how Western young people seem to think they are invincible- the reality of life here certainly doesn’t allow for that illusion, mash’Allaah.

Umm Sakinah al beerooanijah on November 5, 2011 5:38 pm Reply

As salaam alaiki wa Rahmatullahi

I hope you are well and in the best of eemaan. Baaraka Allahu feeki for share with us this. And I pray to our Rabb to keep you baby n his little family safe and all the muslim in the village, and to break their back of this shi’ah.

I cant imagine how worry you are, I admired your son for his calm and hope in our Lord’s Help, for sure it will come.

May Allah send down His sakinah to all the muslim and reward with the best of the rewards fee dunyah wal akhyrah.

Khadijah on November 11, 2011 5:17 am Reply

Ameen. JazakAllaahukhairun for your comment. Alhamdulillah, Mujaahid is very strong and very patient- he doesn’t seem to have my worry gene (smile).

Fruitful Fusion on November 5, 2011 9:20 pm Reply

May you and your family have a blessed Eid. Your posts tear at my heart strings. I can’t imagine what you and your son, your entire family are going through. I love reading about it and reflecting on all that we take for granted. Allah ma’akum.

Khadijah on November 11, 2011 5:17 am Reply

Ameen. BarakAllaahufeekee for taking the time to write, and please keep us all in your du’a’s.

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Thurayah Stoehr on December 3, 2011 1:23 pm Reply

Khadijah, I think this has been the hardest part for me to read. It contains all the feelings of hope and despair, as well as, the very real conversations and thoughts between a mother and son. It seems so close to home with my own son when he has been in very difficult situations and all I could do was listen and pray. Thurayah