Eds Note: Below is the transcript of a speech that Meena gave to a church in the United States that hosted a group of Afghan children being treated for a variety of medical issues.
Mother Teresa once said, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love,” so please let me thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all my Afghan fellows for opening your homes, your hearts and your arms to welcome us, and doing it with great love.
Two beautiful examples of this are Shaiq and Haroon. Shaiq, a 12 year old orphan, lived in a government orphanage under the worst circumstances and had never known a mother’s love. He had heard that God says Heaven is under the feet of mothers, but he never knew why until he met his U.S. host mom. Seeing the affection between these two shows what this program has been able to achieve.
Four-year-old Haroon’s story of kicking and biting his host mom became pretty notorious. But Haroon’s first host mom never gave up. She slept with him, brushed his teeth, took him to the bathroom and did everything she could to help him with love. Haroon changed tremendously and his host mom was in tears when turning him over to the next family hosting him.
Unfortunately, only a few of us get exposed to different cultures and religions. Lack of education about each other can create huge misunderstandings which can lead to hatred against each other. The only cure for this is education, and there is no greater way of educating each other about our religions, our cultures and our countries than living with each other as a family. This teaches us that we have much in common. We are not born as Jews, Christians or Muslims but as human beings, all creatures of the same God, who can and shall live in peace and harmony. There are different ways to get to the top of the mountain, but the view is always going to be identical. This is true of religion as well. There are different paths to take to the same God.
Once again, thank you, thank you and thank you for making this possible. Our paths may or may not cross again, but our memories will always be with us. The love, affection and kindness you have provided us will nurture our hearts and souls. The only way we can return your favor is to be for someone else in need what you have been to us.
I would like to end my comments with this very beautiful poem about humanity
bani Adam a’azAye yekdigarand
ke dar Afarinesh ze yek goharand
cho ozvi be dard Avarad roozegAr
degar ozv hA rA namAnad gharAr
to kaz mehnate digaran bi ghami
nashAyad ke nAmat nahand Adami
Here is a translation of the poem:
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.