November 20, 2009

"Memories in My Heart"

The children are the ones I won’t forget. The pictures on my walls are proof of living memories in my heart. The kids are brought up a certain way, different from than ours. They didn't see the camera; they looked THROUGH the camera as if they saw "rescue" in our eyes.

They see the way we act and get to know us as the people we are. All the while learning we aren't the bad guys; we’re the "rescuers."

The hardest part was when the kids knew me by name. They asked for their presence to be acknowledged by me. Every time I approached; they ran and hopped on me, asking to take them back to the States.

I saw the same kids every month. I had nicknames for the “hadjias,” and a few gave me kisses on my cheek.

When it was time to leave Iraq, somehow the children knew we were going but not the specific dates. You can see the look in their eyes and see the admiration they had for you, yet how they felt depress because they were going back to their reality.

SrA. N. Lopez
© Emma Lopez 2009 all rights reserved


Anna Rodriguez said...

Beautiful and moving! I know I'd have a hard time leaving the children, too, if I were there! Thanks for sharing such a moving and often overlooked aspect of the war.

God bless and a huge Thank You!

jdcoughlin said...

That is so beautiful. It is something we hear over and over, the soldiers reacting to the children. I so appreciate everything you are doing there, here. I know those children will forever remember you, as a woman and an American. A simple act, you giving them affection, such a great gift.