by Ummi A Bello

When you push and seek out all your reserve energy in order to keep going, but still feel like your body is failing you. It takes your mind and soul working together to conquer it all.

My knees felt like they were about to give up on me and I felt like calling it quits. The sweat dripping down my face and back was being soaked up by every single layer of clothing I had on. My eyes were glued to the floor, staring at the different shaped and colored stones as I stepped on them and painfully pushed myself forward. Every once in a while, I would pause and look back at the steep trail and scene I had finally left behind just so that I can see how far I had walked and use that as motivation to keep moving. Why was I putting my body and mind to the test? I could be home right now, sipping on my cup of tea, watching a movie or writing a paper like the rest of my peers. I’d given that up for a greater cause. This walk was for the Syrian refugees. If this is how I felt, after only about 5 hours of walking, how do these refugees feel after days, weeks, even months on their feet? And unlike me, they don’t have the certainty of getting to the finish line in a few hours. They don’t have the water, food, and resources I had stored away in my rucksack ready to be consumed at any moment in time. They don’t have the luxury of the thought that home is just a bus ride away. A home that is safe, free of tyranny, bombs, blood, violence, and pain. They don’t have the access to four walls, a long hot shower and a warm, soft bed in a well-heated room. They do not have certainty of any of that. All they want is to find someplace safer than the reincarnation of hell that they had left behind or at least trying to leave behind. An escape from the suffering, the pain, the loss and heartache that was once home. All they want is a new opportunity and a shot at happiness and peace. Although their obstacles and difficulties are unimaginable and unsettling to even think about, they keep on pushing. For what else does someone who escapes with their life today have if not hope for a better tomorrow?

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