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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

San Diego Teenager Makes Syrian Seniors’ Days Brighter

The Author By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | July 2nd, 2008 | Comments No Comments

saviora.jpg “It’s a wonderful experience to see a similar country to the country my parents grew up in,” says 13-year-old Saviora Sanati, whose parents left Iraq soon after Sadaam Hussein’s brutal conquest. Savi was born in San Diego where she will start high school this fall. The Middle East Fellowship’s one-month immersion program in Syria is her first time outside of North America.

“I thought there would be bullets flying and bombs dropping [from Lebanon], but it’s totally cool,” says the precocious teen. “It’s safer than the States.”

Savi and her older sister Sasha are spending their summer perfecting their Arabic and volunteering at a senior center run by the Greek Orthodox Church. Since most Arab families absorb each generation into their homes, it is the rare senior without family. The 25 seniors who live at the St Gregorios Center for Orphans and Aged People are quite socially isolated.

The Middle East Fellowship volunteers organized a day to give the elderly women manicures and are creating a game room to improve the seniors’ opportunities for socialization.
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“Most of them have no families,” explains Savi. “We’re someone to talk with and laugh with. We make their day!”

[For more information about the Middle East Fellowship’s Damascus Summer Encounter, visit www.MiddleEastFellowship.org. For fun blogs on this year’s Encounter, visit www.SyriaSummer.org/blog.]
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