Thursday, September 11, 2008


I remember getting ready for class, coming downstairs - my mom had on the t.v. The first tower had already fallen and we sat on cream leather couches and watched as a black soot fell over new York city. over our living room. We were stunned, mouths open and in shock. We knew no one in the towers - I was yet to have a brother-in-law that worked at the pentagon…
It felt very far away - unreal to me.

That’s how tragedies usually are for me…
The big events move me little, it’s not until I hear stories of individual lives that I am moved.
...a story of a pregnant wife who lost a husband- a story of a man who survived because he forgot to set his alarm clock for work that day –Those are the stories that give me the chills, that make me feel.

I was a year and three months away from leaving for Africa when September 11th happened.
It never occurred to me that to fly across the world that day fifteen months later, in the winter of December, would be out of the question. not going wasn't an option.
So I went to the airport, with containers of luggage and my family in tow…
And I smiled and waved goodbye as I watched tears running down their faces.
I felt brave and heroic as I went to save the world – as they left me to walk alone through all new security check-points and down long terminals alone.

They couldn’t walk me to my gate or sit with me until I boarded, and while I waited alone, only meters from where they had kissed me goodbye, I felt like a small child, frightened and alone.
I brought no cell phone, no computer – no way to tell them I had made it through okay. It would be days before they knew I made it to Uganda safely.

But I left, into a changing world and they let me go…a twenty year old girl, on her own, into a foreign, now turbulent world.


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

I was supposed to fly to Beirut that day. I remember my office calling me and telling me I couldn't go. Their trying to explain to me what was happening. I remember just repeating "What? What? What?" None of it made any sense. It still doesn't.

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