Friday 20th October; London, UK
The atmosphere in the car on the way to T5, Heathrow was one filled with a mixture of emotions. The day had finally arrived for us to start our journey towards Syria, carrying with us our heavy hearts and large suitcases of aid.
The weeks leading up to today had been full of apprehension and excitement. We had been blessed with the opportunity to pay homage to our awesome honourable Lady Zaynab a.s. on our aid convoy to Shaam, Damascus, and the seriousness (serious tone/mood) of our intended journey had been infected with impatience and anxiousness.
The group, made up of volunteers from different cities and professions were to meet at T5 and make our way through to the departure gate together. The group came together with ease, sharing all available space in luggage for last-minute donations, as well as taking a few minutes to share the lovely snacks prepared for the group by members of the team.
As a group, it was heart warming to see the amount of donations that we received from generous donors. We collected; medication (over the till and prescription), essential medical equipment (bought from monetary donations), baby essentials (nappies, nappy rash creams, baby wipes) and confectionary (for district at the Children’s get together). In addition, we were also able to collect large amounts of monetary donations. (We were advised not to collect clothing from our donors unless the clothes had been specifically bought for the Syrian people.)
As we waited for our flight, we tried to prepare ourselves mentally for where we were going and the journey that we were about to undertake. A journey that would be filled with emotion and grief at seeing the plight of the widows and orphans that had fallen victim to the war in Syria. One that would reveal to us the extent of the damage to the country we once used to frequently visit, for Ziyarah. We had to remember that the people that we were on our way to meet were people that had lost so much, and suffered unimaginable and unfathomable devastation and pain.
With our heart of hearts heavy and a small smile on our lips, we entered the plane with our right foot and began our journey to Shaam; a place that once felt like a second home.