Baraka Blog

Growing thoughts

How can I compare?

I have only been interning at PCRF for one day, on that day I met Khalil and was asked to compare and contrast my life to his.

How can I compare my life to Khalil’s!? The only thing Khalil and I have in common are our ages. He is a rising senior and I am going to be in ninth grade this fall. I have lived in New York City for all my life, the biggest problems I face when I wake up include  finding a taxi to take me to school or realizing I haven’t studied enough for the history test I have third period. Sometimes I have the major issue of not having enough money on me to buy that super cute jacket at Bloomingdales.

Khalil’s life is completely different than mine. He has actually faced major problems and tragedies. Although Khalil and I speak different languages, we were able to communicate with gestures and basic English and Arabic words. Using his hands and limited English Khalil explained to me that Gaza, his home, wasn’t safe anymore, that his brother was killed, that his other brother had lost an eye and he lost both of his legs.

When he told me this I immediately felt guilty for ever crying over something silly, or complaining about something that I shouldn’t have been complaining about. Then I thought to myself, if I had gone through half of the things Khalil has gone through, I would not be able to wake up in the morning, I would never smile, never laugh, and would probably be horrible company. Khalil is the complete opposite. When I had lunch with him, he smiled, laughed and was amazing company.  How could I even try to compare my life to Khalil’s?


11 responses to “How can I compare?

  1. ranya July 8, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Leia, you made a choice this summer. You decided that it was time to learn about your roots and heritage. You chose a summer of heat, learning and difficult experiences. You are on your way to becoming an amazing adult, who will not only be great company but who will give back to the world and thank her blessings.
    We love you. Mom and Dad.
    Comment by ranya — July 8, 2010 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  2. sharon buckley July 8, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Dear Leia,

    Day one and you have learned more than many learn in a lifetime!! There but for the grace of God go I. We are indeed fortunate and blessed and recognizing this so early in your life will help you to open your heart to others. I can see that this is happening already by your thoughts and insights expressed above, and in your smile. I look forward to reading more about your experiences in Dubai and send much love to you and your grandparents.

    xoxo sharon

  3. Whitney Marriott July 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Leia–What a great blog. We are so impressed with what you have decided to do this summer. What a fabulous and rewarding experience! Our family visited the shanty towns in South Africa. There was so much poverty and violence, yet all the children were happy and smiling. It was hard for us to comprehend. We realized how fortunate we were, and how we should be thankful. It was a life changing moment for all of us. We are looking forward to hearing more about your experiences. Thanks for sharing. Whitney and Mike

  4. teddy donohue July 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Leia, I truly admire you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about meeting Khalil and the PCRF. I have spoken with Alana and Peter about their places in the world at large and becoming ever more engaged in it. I can understand how this experience is bittersweet for you but I am sure that it will enrich both your lives. You and Taymor and Peter and Alana all work so hard during the academic year and we, your parents, are very proud. But you have taken a new and fabulous step this summer in giving of yourself. There is no greater gift….Teddy Donohue

  5. Priscilla July 9, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Thank you Leia for bringing stories like this to the attention of people back home, reminding all of us to be grateful for our lives, and to do as much as we can to help people who are suffering. I look forward to learning more from you and all of the people you are meeting.

  6. Aunty Samia July 10, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Dearest Leia: It was only a matter of time for you to realize what a difference you can make in this world.It was never “If” but always “When”! You are an exceptional, beautiful, and bright young lady who is fortunate to have engaged parents with a rich heritage. What a privilege it is being able to watch you evolve into such a promising young lady!

    with love and anticipation, Aunty Samia

  7. Dana July 10, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Great post Leia! Please keep on blogging—can’t wait to read more and hear all about the summer…in arabic!

  8. Samia July 10, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Dearest Leia, Thank you for sharing such a moving experience with us. I always knew that the day when you realized what a difference you can make in this world would come….sooner than later! You are a smart and beautiful young lady who is fortunate enough to have engaged and exceptional parents. There are many issues and causes in this world that need our attention. I advise you to follow your heart, pursue what moves you and make it happen.

    Your proud Aunty,

  9. aida July 11, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Leia my sweet grandughter > I can not tell you how happy I was when your mom told me your plan for this summer so i can have more time to spend with you!you are an amazing person and i will never forget the day that you met khalil and your feelings towards his suffering ,but I realized that you are going to to do what you can to help all who need help and work for all to have peace!well done I am proud of you.Love Aida

  10. Valerie Artzt July 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Dear Leia,

    It takes a great deal of maturity to recognize the gifts that a safe and healthy life bring. When you have these things, plus love, you want for nothing. I admire your candor and your willingness to compare and contrasts the “hardships” in your life to Khalil’s. That takes humility and compassion. I am certain that you are bringing a light to Khalil and all those you are meeting and helping with your own trademarked brand of kindness, beauty and humor. You are a role model for all of us and we are proud of you!!
    Much love,
    Valerie, Alan Tristan and Remy

  11. Fatima Suhail July 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    An excellently expressed blog. It was truly an enjoyable moment when I read this blog. It really helps the society know how blessed we are, and how some amongst us are happy even in the worst of all situations. Khalil’s story is truly an eye-opener. It makes us realize how fortunate we are to have all facilities in life. Yet there are some who are thankful even after been deprived of basic necessities in life. Khalil life-account teaches us to be patient in life, no matter how bad times are we going through. It gives us hope to continue to fight in life, and to accomplish our dreams.

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