Relationship: Child of im/migrant

In moments of distress even a blind person looks towards the sky in hope for divine intervention. My father migrated from Pakistan in 1984 with the hope that the land of opportunities would provide a shore to the sea of problems he and his family were facing. Nothing he had come to rely on in his life—the guidance of his parents, the support of his siblings, the moments of joy with his friends, would be part of his physical life any longer. However, those he loved and left behind were represented by the jannamaz that his mother gave him, with the words “may God be with you,” upon his departure. A jannamaz is a mat for Muslims to use while they pray. In a land of strangers, the jannamaz was not only a doorway to home but was also a keeper of memories. With no one to talk to or to ask for help, the jannamaz kept reminding him of his goals and also gave him a friend to talk to: God. Comforting him through these troubled times and ambiguous feelings, the jannamaz also witnessed his complaints of laborious days of work. Now, the jannamaz has also witnessed his gratitude as he nears his retirement and his children enter their working ages with opportunities he never had. The jannamaz has now been passed onto us, with a slight difference in its place in our lives: for our immigrant father, the jannamaz was a symbol of home in Pakistan; for us, it embodies our home in the United States.

Place(s): Pakistan
Year: 1984

– Akbar

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant