Last Sunday was my oldest grandson’s birthday. He is now eight years old!
To celebrate the occasion, his mum and dad organised a pool party for his friends. It was a lovely occasion. To see all the children jumping into the pool, diving under the water, climbing over the inflatable structure in the pool, swimming, splashing, throwing balls, shouting, and having fun, was a heartwarming delight. I was having such a good time watching the level of activity in the pool and listening to the happy excited sounds and their echos!
I wondered how a boy of similar age would be celebrating his birthday in a refugee camp. I was hoping that his parents along with his siblings and possibly some friends would be sitting in their tent singing the songs children sang in their homeland. I imagined that perhaps a volunteer in the camp knew it was the little boy’s birthday and as by magic delivered a birthday present and maybe a small cake for them to share. It is a happy occasion and so the father is commemorating it by taking a few photos on his mobile phone. But it is also a sad occasion for the parents who remember how they used to celebrate birthdays before being forced to leave their homes.
But children are more resilient than we give them credit for. Suddenly the little boy stands up and speaks: ‘ I am so happy it is my birthday today and so excited that we are all together and having fun. When I grow up I want to build a big house so we can all live together. I know I can do this because I have been watching the builders who are building a wall in the camp. I also want to build a big pool in the garden so that we can all have fun together in the water. And when is my birthday I will invite all my friends and family to my house and to my pool‘. Simple words describing a big dream. Mother sheds a tear, father smiles proudly. They are both so proud of the little boy who is mature beyond his years. They know he will grow into a good human being and they hope he will achieve all his dreams.