Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 19, 2013

Inspired by Maleeha

Amman, Jordan en route to Dubai, UAE

Not all heroes wear capes and leap tall buildings in a single bound. I have found that the greatest heroes are ordinary people who live obscure lives and receive little, if any, recognition for the things that they do. These individuals are heroes in my book not because they have done great deeds that are known far and wide. I consider these particular individuals heroes because of the little things they do that matter to the people around them.

Yesterday, my friends and I visited Zaatari Refugee Camp along the northern border of Jordan, just a few miles south of the Syrian border. On our way back to Amman, we stopped to visit with a lady named Maleeha. She lives in a small and scantily furnished cinder block house in an out-of-the-way little village, the kind of place that is hardly noticeable from the main road. Certainly not the kind of place where you would expect to find a hero.

Single Mom
I could not wait to meet Maleeha after learning her story from our partners at Global Hope Network. When she was 40-years-old, Maleeha’s husband left her for another women. He not only abandoned her, he abandoned their seven children as well, one of which has special needs. And to make matters worse, her selfish jerk of a husband has not given her or the children a single Jordanian dollar to help them. When he abandoned the family he did not look back.

Maleeha could have thrown up her hands in despair and given up. How could she possibly support herself and seven children? But, she was determined to do everything possible to survive. Her oldest daughter desperately wanted to attend college so that she could get a job to help her mother support the family. Maleeha took all she had and invested it in her daughter’s college education. The young girl excelled in her studies. But then, in her third year of college, she was tragically killed in a car accident.

Once again, Maleeha’s world turned dark. That’s about the time she met our partners at Global Hope Network. Maleeha was still grieving and could not smile. She struggled daily to put one foot in front of the other. And then Global Hope offered to help her second daughter attend college. She is also excelling in her studies. This young lady recently gave a speech at her school and told her painful story of being abandoned by her father and losing her sister and about her mother’s valiant efforts to support the family.

In that speech she said that her life changed when some Christians visited her home and gave her an opportunity to go to school. “They showed more love and concern for me,” she said, “than my father ever did.” She is scheduled to graduate soon with a degree in nursing and is determined to help her mother care for their family.

Single Mom Kids
As for Maleeha, she is smiling again. Although life is still a struggle, hope now keeps despair at bay. Maleeha’s son expects to be accepted into the military in the coming weeks. As for the other kids, Maleeha knows that she faces a tough road with her special needs daughter. But, this resilient little woman is not about to give up. She is a hero and an inspiration to her kids. They absolutely lover her. And she is a hero in every sense of the word in my book. She is an inspiration to me.

As we drove away I thought about a favorite little poem that I learned years ago. It’s entitled “The Cork and The Whale” and perfectly sums up Maleeha’s attitude.

A little brown cork fell in the path of a whale
who lashed it down with his angry tail.
But, in spite of the blows, it quickly arose,
and floated serenely before his nose.
Said the cork to the whale,
“You may flap and sputter and frown,
but you never, never will keep me down.
For I’m made of the stuff that is buoyant enough
to float instead of to drown.”

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