Strolling in the fresh air… unwinding from the tensions of the day… letting nature’s summer warmth refresh our whole being: some of us are lucky enough to find these simple pleasures in our own garden, or just beyond our front door. Spare a thought for Damascus, Syria.
The security situation makes this kind of activity a luxury, sometimes even impossible. And when you do step into the street, you don’t need to go far to find yourself face to face with the effects of human bitterness, jagged reminders of an unresolved chaos. And L’Arche, right in the heart of the Old City?
Widad Bisher, just back from her visit, reports, “in spite of everything, the community keeps seeking life and finding reasons to hope! They are always on the look-out for new ideas for their workshop: the latest project is jam-making: oranges with chocolate- no surprise that is selling well in two local shops.”
But hope comes in many shapes and sizes: “one day, an assistant happened to stop by a flower-stall. The teenaged seller, Mohammed, started chatting, and soon found out about L’Arche. A few days later, the same assistant was passing that way, this time with a community member with a disability. Suddenly, someone ran up with a flower. It was Mohammed. No question of paying for the flower, even though he needed money.” That is the face of hope in Damascus today.