The Promised Land – Part 3

As Jamal and Emre emerged from the passage through the wall, they stepped into one of Hadira’s many Bazaars. They were filled with foods, crafts, clothing, and goods of all sorts. Jamal had never seen so many retailers in one place and wanted to visit them all. He exclaimed to his father, “This place is amazing, look at all the food! And the toys!”

Jamal had just caught sight of a toy store unlike anything he had ever seen before. The signage was fancy, the selection was vast, and the toys he was now looking at were decidedly cooler than anything he or his friends had at home. “Can we get something from here?” he asked excitedly. Emre smiled and calmly answered, “Yes we can get something from here but you won’t be able to keep it. It will be a gift for Raja.” Raja was the name of the boy who’s birthday Jamal would be attending today. Jamal thought about it briefly and agreed. After some deliberation and speaking with the shop keeper, Jamal picked what he thought was a suitable gift. Emre paid and they left.

With Raja’s present in hand, Jamal and Emre started making their way towards the center of Hadira. To no one’s surprise, Jamal eventually asked, “father, how come we don’t shops like that at home?” Emre responded, “you must understand, son, not everything can be as nice as what we have here in Hadira.” Jamal thought about that for a moment. It sounded like a simple truth to be readily accepted, but he didn’t understand why it happened this way. And he wanted to. “Is it because the people in Hadira work harder?” Jamal asked. Emre paused, turned to his son and said, “Hard work is important but there are other things that matter as well. You might be surprised to know this but most of the people who you saw working in the market today actually live outside of Hadira like we do.

You could tell that this came as a surprise to Jamal, “What about the shop keeper at the toy store?” Emre responded, “he lives in a different community than we do, but not far from our home.” Jamal followed up, “So he makes this journey every morning?” Emre replied, “as do most of us.” Jamal now had a look of confusion on his face and said, “If he spends all this time traveling to and from Hadira each day, and they already work here, why wouldn’t he just live here?” “Well I’m sure he would like to. As would all of us. But it costs a great deal to live here so we must work hard and save.” “How much do you have to save before you can live in Hadira?”, Jamal asked. “You must save enough to purchase your own land.”, Emre answered. “And how much is that?”, Jamal asked. Emre replied, “More now than when you were little.” Jamal noticed that his father’s optimistic tone was absent from that last answer. Feeling a shift in the mood, he asked one more question, “will we live here too one day?” His father’s smile returned, “That is the promise, my son.”