A Bundle of Wheat
by Ekram Momani
The harvest season was the most exciting time in my childhood. My sister, my cousins and I spent our childhood in my grandparents’ front yard, playing, studying, and helping the adults in the farming work.
Every day in the month of May I would wait eagerly for the bell to announce the end of the school day. When I would hear it, I would run as fast as I could, crossing the green fields and the dusty stony roads to reach home breathless.
My mother would shout at me: “My little angel, take it easy on yourself!” I would reply back: “I need to manage these kids to get the job done smoothly.”
I would throw my backpack aside, carry the lunch bags and fly to the field. All the kids would run behind me, carrying other stuff like water bottles and harvest tools.
The sound of the birds was so attractive that I couldn’t hear my sister as she was yelling at me to wait for her. The reflection of the sunlight on the wheat made the field look like a field of gold, which was astonishing and made me speechless. I felt my heart leaving my chest from happiness.
People were led by my grandfather, carrying sickles to cut straws and make piles. Some women and children were tidying the piles into bundles and taking them to the threshing point. I imagined one of these bundles as my reward.
We watched as my granny or jadati sorted the wheat bags to send either to the mill, or the market or to the storage. Her name was Zainah which means pretty. She had very beautiful long curly hair which I helped to braid all the way to her waist. She was proud of her hair and every night would apply olive oil to keep it healthy and shiny. The fine wrinkles under her black almond shaped eyes, and the deep look in them, made us aware of her huge wisdom and knowledge.
She distributed the tasks for each person. She valued team work, adults assisted in harvesting, and children helped in different small but important tasks.
At the end of the harvest season our jadah would reward us with a bundle of wheat to trade with cash or candy.
All of us would bargain with the shop’s owners. I was the best bargainer.
The shop owner said to me: “You have two smart grannies that is why you are so smart!”
Cover image created by Zehra Nawab. Illustrated portrait by Sam Trieu.
Beginning her career in Jordan, Ekram was a teacher before being made principal of the school. She lives with her husband and three children—two in university and one in primary school. She has a slight addiction to Facebook, but who doesn’t these days?
Since coming to Canada, she has enjoyed helping newcomers settle in and feel welcome here. Ekram spends a lot of her time volunteering with many non-profit organizations, including the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support and the Coalition of Muslim Women KW. One of her core beliefs is that we should all work together to help others achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
Ekram is enthusiastic to see a community free of xenophobia, racism, and discrimination. Through her volunteer work, she hopes to grant Muslim women and women of colour a platform to be treated with the same respect as everyone else in Canada and strives for this goal every day.