The Ingredient 

When my daughter was a little kid we used to play with dough. One day she had an activity in class doing pizza, she came home excited asking me to repeat the activity with her. We got flour, water and oil and started to mould the paste making various shapes laughingly. Later on, I was baking a cake and noticed that the same ingredients of pizzas were included, only in addition to some extra ones, turning the salty base into a sweet tasty one.
Yesterday I was on a community and service visit with my students for a school of refugees who witnessed a civil war. Advised by their coordinator to be careful while dealing with them, we went holding our breaths and tears, trying to act normally. Meeting them, I wondered how the human being could tolerate such hardship at a very early age. The girls at the age of fourteen and fifteen welcomed us in a very warm and friendly way, they laughed and danced and one of them sang with her candy voice. Our students played with them and had fun, and I stood at the back puzzled; how the same ears that were invaded with bombs and explosions were able to respond to the sound of music, dancing and laughing? How despite of the events that hammered their lives, forcing them to flee their homeland, they were able to have fun again?

I went home overcharged emotionally. I kept thinking of the cheerful victims we have met earlier and I remembered the moulding activity I have done with my child. I thought of the human beings and how we all have some basic ingredients; flesh, blood, veins, organs..while each one develops some self-tailed ingredients from the life experiences he goes through which make him who he uniquely becomes. Some would call these ingredients faith, hope, courage, survival instinct. However, the smiles and laughters I have savoured yesterday held in their layers a certain ingredient that I wasn’t able to figure out or comprehend. 

  

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