January 28, 2016


JUST ONE HELLO FROM MY NEIGHBOR (Emily Ibrahim, 1 . 27 . 16, First Things)

I first met Fatima at Dollar Tree. It was her bright clothing that caught my eye. A colorful piece of cloth called a malhafa was draped around her body and her head, and I knew immediately that she had traveled far, from the Saharan desert, all the way to America. I went over and introduced myself, and we immediately became friends and exchanged numbers. [...]

At one point I asked her if she had any other American friends. Though I knew she may not, I hoped that after four years of living here, she might have at least one other American friend. "Well, I do know one American woman who is married to my husband's friend. But you are my first American friend," she replied.

And then her heart spilt open to me, as she chopped her vegetables in the kitchen. She began to tell me how she wants to be friends with Americans, but no one has ever come up to her to be her friend, until I approached her at the Dollar Tree. Even though it's normal to do that in her culture, she knows it's strange here in America. She wants to make friends with Americans, but what should she do? An American woman might find it quite strange and uncomfortable if she were to randomly approach her and ask her to be her friend. She might surprise her, or worse yet, scare her.

"My neighbor is an American woman," she told me, "but she never says hello to me. I see her come and go, but not once has she said hello. I just want to be her friend. I want to be a good neighbor. When I make food, I want to bring it to her and share with her. When we have a holiday, I want her to come over and celebrate with us. When she has a holiday I want to go to her house and congratulate her. That's all I want. But she's never said 'hello' ...My heart was so happy when you said 'hello' to me in Dollar Tree."

Posted by at January 28, 2016 5:11 PM