We don't stop believing it

Publish date 23-07-2022

by Arsenale dell’Incontro

The first memory we have of Iyad is the noise of the plastic slides and all the containers in the Arsenale playground dragged everywhere for half an entire hour under the resigned gaze of the mother.
These sounds kept us company in the office and in classrooms for months and months: that "game" was the only activity capable of keeping Iyad busy and calm before and after class, waiting for the bus to go home.
The eyes of the mother always crossed us in fear for that child who did not stay still, with the fear of her that sooner or later someone would tell her that if the child had not calmed down she would never be able to come again. It was 2016.

When today we meet Iyad in the corridors of the Arsenale, with a proud and smiling gaze behind his mask, calm together with his companions and teachers, it almost seems to us that it cannot be the same child.
Now Iyad comes to school every day, he has no problem socializing and being in a group, or even coming without his mother on the bus with the other children.
Even the mother has changed her gaze: she looks at her son with admiration, she looks at the Arsenale with the gratitude of those who know that - even before a school for her child - she has found a second home, for her and for the son she raised. alone. What was in between?

Nothing special. The constancy and daily tenacity of many who have dreamed and are dreaming of a good life for the little ones entrusted to them.
Let's think of Alà, the teacher who followed him first, she never lost her patience, nor was she discouraged in front of his whims, her screams, the races not to follow her. She didn't give up an inch and he slowly went behind her. Because he felt loved, desired, understood.

We think of Karima and Jawaher, the teacher and speech therapist who were following him at the time of the total lockdown two years ago. Since her mother was not reachable on the phone, as soon as it was possible to get out of her, they contacted her through a neighbor and brought her two hand-made notebooks full of drawings and exercises that she could have done with Iyad. Of course, along with the notebook there were markers, pencils and everything you need.
This mother was so moved by the attention she received that she understood that it was up to her to get involved a little more: she learned to use the videos on the phone and started talking to the teachers to understand how to "do homework ”with Iyad. This daily relationship was fundamental for them.

These and many hundreds of other small gestures of good received over the years by anyone who has crossed paths with them at the Arsenal have allowed Iyad to blossom. And like him to many others. Walking through the corridors of the Arsenale and meeting the eyes of many children who have arrived small and now almost children, there are many thanks we say to the Lord for the good stories that he gives us every day and helps us to write.
While we are writing this article, a phone call arrives from one of the therapists: she is experiencing a moment of great fatigue due to a serious bereavement and for her last child who has recently been born who needs a lot of care and attention.

She tells us: «It has been a very hard week, but you know what is the best thing? I have never felt alone. I know you are there, and the other colleagues have not made me lack support and advice, not even for a day. I thank God for putting you in my path and for working with you. In this difficult time I really felt it, even more ". Small drops of water that make the desert bloom and keep hope alive in this difficult time. In our hearts first of all. And - by diffusion - also in the people we meet. We do not stop believing it!

Arsenal of the Encounter
NP March 2022

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