This I Believe

Amina - washington dc, District of Columbia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

When I was young, on the day of “Aid” on which all people visit one another, my father and I made a visit to his uncle. It was the first time that I saw him. He was a handicapped old man in his wheelchair. He enjoyed our visit, and gave me money, no much just some coin. But I was so glad, so happy, not because of money or how much, but the fact that he gave it to me.

I believe that as a child we never forget some things that other people have done for us, and those things affect us and become parts of our personalities.

When I was between 5 and 11 years old, my father was not living with us, so we were alone without father’s protection. I remember that my mother’s family and especially my father’s cousin were the ones who visited us and took care of us. Neither my uncle nor my aunts from my father’s family visited us or asked by phone. My father’s cousin died six years ago, but I’ll never forget him and I still love him even if he’s not with me. Now I don’t visit my father’s family as much us my mother’s and I’m not as close with them as the others. This experience changed a lot in my personality and gave me the principle that I should do something good for other people.

When I was approximately 5 years old, it was during the most dangerous years in Algeria. My father, who is in the military, worked in the most insecure place in the country, where there were many crimes and genocides. He had 2 weeks every two months to spend with us. When he arrived, all our behaviors, feelings and moods were changed. We were other people, my mother, my brother and I, totally changed because we felt secure.

I’ll never forget his leaving day. It was approximately 5 am, on a winter day. He didn’t want to wake us up, my brother and I. I knew that it was the day of his leaving, so I didn’t sleep all the night in order to get up, see him, and say good bye before he left. When I heard his voice, I got up, and went toward the door. It was really dark outside in the back of the house, where he generally parked the car. My mother was in the front of the door. I joined her and I saw my father, and he was surprised that I woke up. He took the holy Quran with him, put it next to his seat, and said bye and take care of each other. I felt my mother’s fright for my father, and I was afraid too, afraid of the possibility that we would never see my father again, afraid of other people who killed every one in their way, afraid of the idea that we might lose the most important person who loves me better than anyone in the world and who protects me for all my life.

From these days I realized that my father worked in a noble cause and he was a brave man because he loved his family, but he could sacrifice the joy of his wife and children for his country and his work. And I swore that I will do something for my country, something positive for my Algeria. And I learned that life must be lived not only for us, but for other people too, to make them protected, joyful and happy.

I’m still fascinated by my father, and I think that everyone wants to be like a person who affected him when he was a child. We learn the most important principles when we are children.

I believe that we never forget people, actions or things that happened in our childhood. And that affects us for all our lives.