(by Aboud Dandachi)
(where, while Aboud may claim that his volunteering every year at the local fair’s annual book-sale is totally altruistic, his friends know it’s just a way to get first dibs on the best books)
One of the things one learns to do, when living as a refugee in a place like Turkey, is to try to limit one’s social interactions as much as possible. You never know how a stranger might react to meeting a refugee in their country. While most Istanbulites were pleasant, it was always better to be safe rather than sorry.
It took me a while to grow out of that habit when I moved to Canada. For two months, my sole interactions were with my friends, friends of friends, and saying “thank you” to supermarket cashiers and bus drivers.
By September of 2017, it was evident to me that that was a habit that I had to break. And so I decided to do what to me seemed a most daunting affair at the time; I volunteered at the neighborhood’s annual Fall Fair. Specifically, the book sale.