Three years of planning, form filling, team building. Three years of fund raising, house buying, permission seeking. Three years of anticipation, emotion, excitement and the moment had arrived, suddenly our passport photograph family were stood with us. Suddenly Community Sponsorship was more than an idea, a project, more than names, this was real.
Beyond the chaos of suitcase upon suitcase upon suitcase and translated hellos was Rana. Below her perfect hijab, were mother eyes beyond tiredness, telling an unimaginable story. What does it take to choose an uncertain future, to trust her family to passport photographs? Everything for this moment risked, Gatwick her portal from a life known to a life unknown. Certainty, albeit fragmented, gone. Heavy, grey eyes reflect belongings and loved ones left behind for an unshaped dream.
Bewildered she trusts and we leave.
Not a week later she explains, “for many months I have not slept, who are these people? Only photos and names”.
We’re eating, sharing, laughing. Two cultures collide to create something new over chicken shawarma, tabbouleh, yogurt and sweet sweet coffee. The room dominated by our welcome sign, a comforting reminder, an art installation of corporate love. Her eyes now different. She laughs, her head rolls back and the room is full of joy. The faceless greyness of uncertainty replaced with the beauty and deep colours of hope.