Unforgettable memory of Aleppo by Marwa Boustaji

What I’m about to say happened in Aleppo-Syria in 2006, when I was a child. I used to always play in our garden, right  around from the pond, and I tried to always see the top point of the water fountain.

One day, my mom told me to get ready to go on a trip with my family. “We’ll go to the countryside north of the city” our mom eagerly told us.

We packed our bags and supplies throughout the day, and we take off the next day. I fell asleep while I was dreaming about how the trip would be like? Suddenly, I woke up to  children’s noise who were jumping for joy.

An hour later we arrived at our relative’s home.

We put our luggage away, after they gave us a warm welcome and were extremely hospitable. Then we set off with them and continued our journey to the grove.My mother and my aunts were all carrying bags with meters of fabrics, buckets and other things.

Well, it’s the olive harvest!

We started to play, me and the other children. We were jumping, competing and running around the grove.The land was vast with brown-red soil with clear, blue skies in the morning and a cloudy afternoon with a countless amount of green trees dangling in large and small clusters.

After playing, we ate a simple breakfast in nature, and when we finished, we put cloths around each tree toward the ground.We  began to climb one of them to get to the branches of the tree and start picking clusters with our small hands until it would fall onto the fabrics. Then our moms who were sitting below would  sort the  green olives. We would then use a portion of the olives later to make oil.

We enjoyed our afternoon immensely and we competed to see who would finish picking the tree first, and then go to the other tree and gets our parents praise. Our laughter spread throughout the grove with our shrieking mothers giving us loads of attention. And of course, not falling from the branches to the ground!

It took us all day to pick the trees. As the sun began to set, we picked up the olives and fabrics and the rain began to downpour.

We’re trudged so much as we walked in the rain with all of the heavy weights.We felt cold and tired from walking with all the baggage, we didn’t see any car on the street to help transport us. Suddenly we saw a door  of one of the houses on the street was open and someone was calling us to come in and stay in his home until it stops raining. In fact, the relative’s house was not far from the grove, but rain, baggage and children made  it seem impossible to get to.

We stayed with them for two hours. They let  us borrow new clothes and moved the heater right next to us and then we ate dinner together.My grandmother insisted to respond to their generosity by doing something so simple.Since we did not bring much on our outing, she gave them what we did have. She gave them some of the olives which we enjoyed picking earlier in the day.  A friendly relationship between the two families erupted instantly. And soon after  we set off for the house to start the next day, a new day of our journey itself.  As well as new branches, under the new rains, with new laughter and new happiness.

This happened 10 years ago, these memories are from before the groove had burnt down!

I remember that day clearly, like it happened yesterday. I remember wearing my pink sweater, my brother’s blue clothes, and how all the children looked like as were wearing the colors of the rainbow amongst all those fruitful green trees. It was beautiful, inspiring and an unforgettable memory!

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