Ihsanullah (R, standing) and one of his brothers from Virginia at a family picnic last week at Menotomy Rocks Park in Arlington. A second brother, one of Zahida's brothers, and many nieces and nephews, all from Virginia, joined the Rawans and their Hasanzai cousins to celebrate Eid. (Photo: Betty J. Stone)
Hearing the voices in Pashto, Dari, and Arabic of over 30 children and their 20 or so parents gracing the hallways and spaces of Parish of the Epiphany was a great joy on Saturday, May 7. Beginning early that morning, volunteers gathered for some vegetable side dish preparation and setup of Hadley Hall, the Upper Parish Hall, and the Chapel. Each space welcomed Afghan families sponsored by WIRP or organizations from Waltham, Belmont, Arlington, Woburn, and Somerville. This celebration of completing the Ramadan fast called Eid was hosted by the Winchester Interfaith Resettlement Partnership.
By 11:00, the families began to arrive attired in their fanciest traditional holiday clothes. Families brought their own side dishes to go along with catered halal dishes for a feast described by many as their favorite of the whole Ramadan season. Imam Mohammed Waris from the Medford mosque offered mid-day prayers in the chapel and spoke of the importance of this time of the year for Muslims.
As families shared phone numbers and names with newfound friends who had shared their experience of fleeing Afghanistan in August, 2021, one of the main objectives of the celebration was realized. After a wonderful traditional halwa dessert and tea, the children moved out into the afternoon sun of the Bishop Garden. As families departed laden with leftover containers prepared from the extravagant feast and goodie bags for the children, all those present felt deep appreciation for the heartfelt connections being made across faiths, languages, cultures, and nationalities.
Without the hard work and organization of the Children’s and Youth Ministry of Epiphany, Mission and Outreach, and countless hours from Epiphany volunteers too many to name, this festive celebration could never have taken place. If you are interested in finding other ways to help support our Afghan family and their resettlement, please contact Rev. Bob Davidson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stand by for more news of the family’s spring activities in the weeks ahead.
The Rawans’ eldest child Adil loves his soccer clinic—shown here working on his goaltending skills. (Photo: Betty J. Stone)