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‹ Mn Huna: Finding Refuge in Friendship

Episode 2: Absence Shadows Our Hearts

January 29, 2017
Houda and her ten day old niece Shooq.
Houda and her ten day old niece Shooq a few weeks before Houda left for Tucson.

In episode two of Mn Huna: Finding Refuge in Friendship, we begin to introduce you to Houda’s family.

Houda is the middle daughter in a tight-knit family of five. They all fled Aleppo together in 2013. But when Houda, her parents, and her younger sister Sara were resettled to Tucson in July of 2016, her older sister Noor was left behind. She had turned 21 and she was married, so she could not be resettled with the rest of her family.

One month before her family left, Noor had a baby, Shooq. The first grandchild.

4 month old Shooq
Shooq at 4 months old.

Now, Emane, Houda’s mother, can only help her daughter by phone. Aching to hold her grandchild and comfort her daughter, Emane knits caps and sweaters for Shooq. She has been collecting baby toys in hopes that her daughter’s family will be able to join the rest of them in Tucson soon.

Like millions of other families who have been forced to leave their homes, they have been torn away from those they love. This week, their hopes of reunion have been dashed.

When they last held Shooq, she was one month old. They have missed six months of her life. They don’t know how many more years they will miss. Their hearts break every day.

هدى/Houda: من هنا: صدى صوت الشوق

Melanie/ميلاني: From here, absence shadows our hearts.

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Transcript & Translation

(Translation Coming Soon)

Melanie: Hi, my name is Melanie.

Houda: Hi, my name is Houda.

Melanie: And you are listening to

Houda: Mn Huna

Melanie: Finding Refuge in Friendship.

Houda: Isme, Houda.

Melanie: Isme, Melanie.

Melanie: For today’s story, you need to know that Arabic names are words. Every time I meet someone I learn a new vocabulary word. Houda’s name means “Ethical path.” Her Mom Emane’s name means “Faith.”  Her Sister Noor’s name means “Light.”

Houda: The word Mother has few letters but has many meanings. Is there a pain in these meanings? I mean pain is not physical pain, I mean the spiritual pain that sleeps in the heart of mother.  A heart doctor cannot treat this pain. The pain is the pain of yearning. Emane, my mother left her daughter, my sister Noor, alone between walls of yearning, even though she is with her husband and her baby.

Melanie: Because Noor is in her early twenties and married, she was not re-settled with the rest of the family. This is a really common situation for refugee families with older children.

Houda: A Mother is a country, without her the child is homeless. My Mother said:

Emane (speaking in Arabic)

Houda (translating to English): When my granddaughter was born, her father choose to name her Shooq which means “Yearning.” As if this name foretold that after a month this would be not just a name but the reality.

Emane (speaking in Arabic)

Houda: My Mother is always trying to treat her yearning for her daughter and her granddaughter by talking with her and seeing the baby by camera, but this is not enough.

Emane (speaking in Arabic)

Houda: I need to hug my daughter and her baby under my two wings.  The voice and image is not enough for the mother’s heart.

Emane (finishes speaking in Arabic)

Melanie: As of now, we don’t know when or whether Noor, her baby, and her husband will be able to re-join the rest of the family.  Many, many families are in a similar situation. Mothers, fathers, children, sisters, brothers, grandchildren, who don’t know when or whether they will see each other again.

Houda: My Mother don’t grieve. This sadness and separation will not last.

Houda: من هنا: صدى صوت الشوق

Melanie: From here, absence shadows our hearts.

Houssam, Houda's father, holds his newborn granddaughter Shooq in Jordan two days before the family left for America.
Houssam, Houda’s father, holds his newborn granddaughter Shooq in Jordan two days before the family left for America.

Culture,   Motherhood,   Refugee,   Syria,  


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