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God! Why now? I asked my Lord. I needed to be able to walk more than ever. The pain in my feet amplified the sorrow in my heart . I was so helpless… My loved ones, my husband, parents, and dear friends were not around me.

I have been successful and in the spotlight, all my life. I graduated from a well-respected university with a dental degree. While I pursued my career as an academician, my passion had been to serve people in need in Africa. I was always one to help and serve others, but I had never been in a position where I was so incapable and desperately seeking help from others.

If someone had told me that, there would be a day when I would need to leave my country silently, I  would have never believed it. I would say my country was a part of me.

With my foot hurting, I was not able to walk in the darkness.  “Come on” said my companion ,“we need to get out of here as soon as possible,” she whispered. All the tears that had been accumulating in my eyes since the beginning of this journey started flowing with feelings of weakness. “You should keep going; you should survive,” I told her. “Worst case, soldiers will find me, and then.. we will see what God will bring.. maybe one day we’ll meet in the Hereafter…”.

I was traveling with a family who had two little kids. The 6-month old baby was held tight by the mom, and the 6-year old girl was in daddy’s lap; such cruelty these innocent little ones were facing. We had to tell the 6-year old Leyla that she should not be crying because we had to keep silent.  Who knows how badly these memories of this hard trip that was even testing the adults’ limits would scar these young and unspoiled minds?

“Lean on me sister” said a gentleman. The road that would normally take 10 minutes was taking an hour, but still they did not leave me alone. The One with Infinite Wisdom had gifted me with these companions and eased this trip that was full of hardships with their company. I still pray for them to be among the Lord’s loved ones.

We started seeing some villagers and considered asking for help. Actually, this could have posed another danger for us. They could report and turn us in; but we did not have any other option. They were seeing my inability to walk, perhaps they would show some mercy. It did not go as expected, they were not willing to help, and we left hoping that they would not report us. We all felt desperate. Then a car stopped nearby. We could not understand what this young man was saying, but the language of humanity is the same anywhere in the world.  Indeed, he was one of the villagers, he did not know Turkish or English and did not understand that my foot was hurt. After we left, when villagers translated our request for help due to my injured foot, he wanted to offer help. I then grasped and got the response to my own question: Why now? His Wisdom was not to be questioned, but I did.


The young man took us to a secure place where we were able to stay and rest for two days. After my foot started to heal, we moved to Thessaloniki, where we could abandon our fears of being returned to Turkey. After meeting my husband in Thessaloniki, I said farewell to my dear companions, hoping to see them again sometime, somewhere..

Going back and thinking of these bitter memories, I am thankful to my Lord that I survived and I am alive now. Before my trip during my last year in Turkey, I had not been faced with cruelty or harm, and I was used to asking the question: “My Lord! Hardship has come upon many beautiful, innocent people. Why am I at ease, why am I not able to share this hardship with them? Am I not one of them, among the ones that are dear to you?”

“Thank you my Lord for accepting my prayer, and allowing me to immigrate with Your permission under such conditions”. **


** In Islam, it is believed that God tests those that he loves with difficult circumstances


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