Every story deserves a happy ending. Unfortunately that's not always the case. However, no matter how dark circumstances may seem, there is always a small sliver of hope that manages to shine through. So it is with Rami and Fami.
Despite their personal situation, these little boys continue to touch my heart. A couple of days after Thanksgiving, they came into the chapel to make themselves useful. They decided that the shelves of books and comfort items for the soldiers needed to be organized a bit. So they began working, quickly and happily. I saw what they were up to so I strolled over to them to thank them and supervise a little. Since they had the situation under control, I didn't stay long. They made small talk as they worked. Before leaving them to their work, I presented both of them with a one dollar bill, the equivalent of about a days pay for your average Iraqi (I'm told). The boys didn't want to accept payment from me but I insisted and they smiled and continued to work. The next day, Rami came into my office and motioned for me to come look at something. He took me out to the lobby area, near the shelves they had organized the previous day, and pointed to a small plaster sculpture. It is a small cheesy souvenir type trinket with camels and palm trees. It says "Iraq" on it and has a big chip out of the front. He said in his broken English, "Me go to supermarket buy you." He had taken the dollar I gave him and purchased a gift for me. There is really not much I could say to that without breaking down entirely. It's not just plaster and paint. It's gold!
Yesterday, Rami returned to my office to chat. His hair was combed, his face washed, and he was wearing a new set of clothes. He smiled and told me that he was able to go home and see his mother because the police, with the help of the Americans, had run the Anti-Iraqi Forces (AIF) out of his neighborhood. He had delivered his savings to her and spent the night in his own house.
So hope continues to carve it's way into the Iraqi landscape.