January 7th


THIS story is from Iraq, Mordochka. In northern Iraq there is a beautiful land called Kurdistan. Kurdistan is a world of rugged mountains and people whose love of those high mountains is endless because the mountains lift their hearts. This story is about how enduring good is. It lasts longer than those mountains, Mordochka.

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Photo courtesy Chia

Photo courtesy Mevan Babakar
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     The story is about a little girl named Mevan. She was born in Kurdistan but, when she was five years old, her family had to
flee from war. They traveled through many countries until they reached a refugee camp in the Netherlands. They lived there five years and, finally, were able to find welcome in England.

    That was 24 years ago. Mevan is now 29, but this story is about one act of kindness that happened 24 years ago in the camp that she never, ever forgot—even from day to day. 

     There was a camp worker/volunteer who, out of the goodness of his heart, bought Mevan a shiny, new red bicycle. She said that when she got the bike “her heart exploded with joy”.  But she felt something else, Mordochka. “I remember feeling so special. I wondered why I was worthy of the gift.” So it was more than a bike the man gave her.  Mevan said for her whole life the bike gave her a sense of her self-worth that she never let go of.

     One day, about a year ago, Mevan had an amazing idea. Could she find the kind man after 24 years? She posted an old photo of the two of them in the refugee camp on Twitter and told the story of the bike. But she didn’t know the man’s name.  Still, someone on Twitter recognized the man because he had worked in the camp too. But he could only remember the man’s nickname. So he reached out to other former colleagues. Within 36 hours, the story was shared more than 7,000 times and the charity worker, Egbert, was located in a country in Europe.

    Egbert and Mevan were reunited and Mevan posted a new photo thanking everyone for their help. “This is Egbert,” she wrote. “He’s been helping refugees since the 90s. He was so happy to see me. He was proud that I’d become a strong and brave woman. He said that was his wish for me when I was small. But he thought the bike was too small a gesture to make such a big fuss about.”

    Mevan ended her story by saying, “The kindness Egbert showed me continues to shape me and always will. That’s the magical thing about kindness: it doesn’t cost anything and it changes the world one person at a time.  The small gesture made me a person again and that has touched people all over the world. It’s really a comfort to remember we’re all powerful in the way that we treat others. Especially in the small acts, we are powerful.”

               —Told to us through Mevan’s Twitter story and many, many other online accounts of the story                                                           

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - November 2020 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com