Wrapping up day three of working in the center, currently cuddling the cute puppies at our hotel and cutting fleece for a craft tomorrow.
The first three days of working in the center...
Day One: We decided to take the first day to get acquainted with the Women and Children's Center, Gateways2Life.We sat with the women, handed out tea, and played with the kids. We pulled out nail polish for a little bit as well. We found that it was easier to have conversation when we were doing an activity; it put both parties at ease. Most of them spoke Farsi so the language of smiles and hugs went a long way. During our lunch and debrief it was good to talk about the reasons for some behavior we were seeing, such as misbehaving kids. We also came to fuller realize that these women are just like us, especially as we saw the women let their hair down before they wrapped it up in their hijab.
At at night we separated beads, putting them into packets for the women to make bracelets, and carried ourselves to bed.
Day Two: We dove in a bit more activity wise this day. We broke out the beads which was a big hit. The women loved to make something beautiful. The women and children loved the beads so much they kept asking for more. We had to learn how to say no which was harder for some people on our team. We learned more about what helping these people is like, and that sometimes helping them may disappoint them and be hard for us as well. We learned about this especially because we gave away humanity packs, backpacks with shampoo, etc. in them. They loved these; everyone wanted one, which is understandable because of their lack of things. Due to this, many times when they can get their hands on something, they grab it for themselves. We learned that some of these behavior is cultural. Instead of being a right/wrong culture, many of them come from culture that where they do not want to be shamed. This makes a bigger difference than we realized, and is still difficult for us Americans to relate to.
After out late lunch/dinner we went to the olive wood factory and met the sweetest lady who offered us candy and coffee. She also said she would make us a cake and bring it to our hotel. Let’s just say her hospitality game was amazing! We went back to the hotel and cut felt, sorted bottle caps, and sponge painted handkerchiefs for a tic tac toe craft.
Day Three: Were finishing up day three today. Today at the center we gave out of the rest of the humanity packs, using a better system to keep better control. It was encouraging that it went better today. We are always learning. We also taught the women to make felt hats by tying knots. As colder months come we hope that they get good use out of these hats as many live in tents.
Today we headed to lunch and took a little walk appreciating the sun that came out. After returning back to our hotel we decided to take another walk around our hotel, the most memorable thing from the walk was meeting a family from Syria who was fishing on the bay. They had two boys and a friend with them. The friend spoke the most English and used his phone to translate what he wanted to say. It was heartbreaking to hear their story. They motioned that there were bombings and killings. They were hoping to make it another place, perferiably Holland or Canada. The friend also said that people in Mitiline, a city nearby, associated him with being a thief and a part of Isis. I can’t imagine being stereotyped like he is! We stopped at the store and then returned to the hotel and did some more craft prep. That bring us up to the present :)
Thank you so much for praying! We can feel them! Please keep doing so as we love on these women and children for the days to come.
All to Him and for Him!