WRITTEN BY TSOS TEAM MEMBER TRISHA LEIMER
Hasan was alert and smiling; Rushte was determined as they sat down to drink their tea and observe the chaos. I handed out mandalas and markers to excited children in the camp community center. I noticed their interest and walked over and asked them if they wanted to give it a try, too. Rushte immediately nodded and Hasan accepted in nearly-perfect English. I handed them paper and pens and left Rushte with head bent over her work.
A few minutes later they called me over with proud smiles. "A gift for you," Hasan said, handing me their paper. I glanced down and was taken aback by what I saw. Rushte had turned her paper over and drawn what was in her heart and in her head...such a disconnect to the smile on her face! She pointed to the bleeding stick figure and the bombs falling on the people and said something in Arabic, motioning to their 9-month old son peacefully sleeping in the stroller next to her. Hasan translated. "This is why we left. To give our son a better life."
I looked around the room and into the faces of the men and women chatting, coloring, texting, watching, and wondered what pictures their hearts would draw.