Monday, August 12 marked Farres Alkhaiyer’s first day with Healthy Democracy. Farres joins Healthy Democracy as a fellow in the 2019-2020 Community Solutions Program, a prestigious fellowship program run by the DC-based nonprofit IREX. This program brings together 80 of the brightest community leaders from around the world for four months of intensive leadership development in the United States.
Farres shares his thoughts on his first week in the U.S., with his blog post, titled “Dreams Away from Screams.”
It was a long flight, it took me 18 hours – that’s only up in the air, flying hours- to get to this heaven; Portland, Oregon. I’ve never been in an airplane before this trip, but I think I had enough already.My name is Farres, which is like Harris but with an F, and my last name is Alkhaiyer, which is probably so hard to pronounce, and it is not like it really matters but it means “the very good man”.
I come from a small, yet famous country named Syria, and yes it is like hell over there, it has been like this for over 8 years now. There are many reasons for the Syrian war, but that is not the question to ask, why don’t we have a solution for this crisis? This is the right one to ask!
And, finding an answer to this question is what I and a small group of friends, back in Syria are trying to do. We are a small organization, which we love to call United Hope, poorly funded, yet extremely optimistic. Although we know we are stuck, and we found nothing over years of working, but we were sure that our hopes would be resurrected, and this trip proved us to be right.
I’ve been here now for a little bit more than a week, but it is clear to me already: Every day is a great day for America, great things happen each day over here, and that is because of great heritage, and great traditions and culture. Am I able to transfer some of these to my home country? And if so, would it work for us?? I’m here because I bet it will.
I came to the us with high hopes of having an opportunity to learn about democracy and federalism, I am excited for this great learning journey, and I have not been surprised by how beautiful America is. But what brings me the real happiness, is that I can see – and for the first time in years – little children able to play outside, and not having to worry about shells falling from the sky.