First the moving part!
When my husband and I decided to move the family to Palestine, I’m not going to lie – I cried. Even as a Palestinian-American, I didn’t think I had a place, purpose or future for myself and kids. Especially since we moved during a time when Gaza was under attack. I only saw one side of Palestine and didn’t think it was a stable environment to raise a family there.
(photo courtesy of welcometopalestine.com)
Falling in love with Ramallah!
Fast forward to today, we’ve been living in Ramallah for five years and though it was a tough transition, it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. It brought us closer to family, the language but most importantly, connected us to our roots. There were a lot of sacrifices made along the way with leaving the comfort of the States but seeing Palestine through a different lens first-hand, has opened my heart to feeling more comfortable with who I am as a Palestinian. And though I was fortunate to live a free life in the States I didn’t realize this new feeling of comfort I was experiencing was something I was missing all along to understand true freedom. Because the comfort I had was a distraction from embracing my true self. Though life under occupation forces you to face many daily obstacles that can make you want to give up - the resiliency of the Palestinian people in finding new, creative ways to survive showed a whole new meaning of freedom. I can list several things that are terribly wrong with Palestine but one thing that makes up for it all are the compassion of the people. In the middle of chaotic Ramallah [photo of Ramallah] with street vendors shouting to sell their produce, taxi vans filling the streets beeping and people walking in between trying to find an opening to quickly pass through – in spite of all the mess, you’ll always find a helping hand, a kind heart, a Palestinian. All of which makes you see past the mess of occupation and live a life so perfectly flawed. Because behind those flaws follow the richness of Palestine’s history that I can now easily identify with which I could never before in the midst of all my comfort. Stepping out of my comfort meant stepping into a path that looked too dark to see the stories of my ancestors who planted the seeds of trees that continue to stand tall today. The same trees that I and so many others living in diaspora who have been picking the fruits of their labor but forgetting to water because such distractions led us to forget where we come from
Starting my handmade business
This is what inspired me to start my business. It’s a small business to make a big impact in keeping our identity alive today – Palestine may not exist on a map (yet) but it exists in the hearts of millions with memories of a free Palestine and dreams to bring it back today. It seems like too big of a dream – but with millions of Palestinians living in diaspora, it’s imperative to remind them the richness of their culture so one by one, Palestinian or not, we continue to hold our place in this world.
You can support Sarab's social project by buying her yoga mat straps. All sale proceeds go to supporting Mashjar Juthour's activities of Planting trees in Ramallah.