Thursday, 14 November 2013

The first days of a new life in Algeria

Port of Algiers
Meanwhile Allah had not finished testing my husband and his determination to make Hijirah.  He stayed in Paris overnight with a friend and drove almost all the way down through France, and had almost reached Marseilles, when he looked for his briefcase with all his documents, passports, money, everything!  And he could not find it anywhere.  So he drove the van back up the motorway, like a maniac, bombarding Allah with dua and retracing his steps.  He rang his friend in Paris to check a service station just outside Paris where he had stopped.  They had found his bag with everything intact alhamdulilah!  So then he had to drive back down the motorway, again like a maniac to make the boat on time.  It was really important to make the boat as he had to have the paperwork for the van stamped and sent back to the dealer in Paris before a certain period expired – and the date was only days away.

He made the boat on time alhamdulilah, and when he arrived in Algeria, he did not arrive at his sisters until the evening.  So his nephew brought the van up to the flat that his sister had found for us and got all his friends to unload it for him.  The next morning my husband had a good look at the flat and decided it wasn’t good enough as it had damp patches and leaking pipes.  He asked his sister was there anywhere else for us, and she told him about the flat next door to her which was available, but said that it was only 2-bedroomed and not the 3-bedroomed one we had requested.  He looked at it and it was immaculate having been freshly painted and he took it.  So along came his nephew and his friends, loaded up the van again and then unloaded it.  Some of the friends swore that with all the boxes of books that they had had to carry, they were put off studying for life and never wanted to see another book as long as they lived!

If I had been told in England that I was going to be living right next door to my sister-in-law I would have been spitting fire!  But, subhanallah, it was the best thing that ever happened.  My sister-in-law is someone who very much keeps herself to herself and she was there if I needed her, but otherwise I was left up to my own devices.  She kept an eye on the children when they played outside and told them whom they should avoid mixing with, corrected any bad language they picked up and trained them and my husband into the pitfalls of living and socialising in Algeria.  She also was family and it was so good for my children to get to know her and her family.  There was also the advantage that when the family came to visit us, they came to her home and we went over there, so I did not have to “entertain” anyone.  It can’t have been very easy for her but she did it all with such good grace mashallah.  We always think of how our in-laws are going to impact on our lives but we don’t always give as much thought as to how our arrival impacts on them.  They do have lives of their own which they have happily lived before we come and then suddenly our arrival puts them in the spotlight, as everyone knows we are foreigners and that we “belong” to them!  May Allah reward her for her patience and support to us during those first difficult months.

We had paid the rent for the flat for a year so we had no problems about that alhamdulilah.  But we heard from England that the man who had put in an offer for the house had to back out as he had problems with insurance.  Meanwhile my husband was worried that the paperwork for the van did not arrive back to the seller in Paris, and that was all the money in the world that we had to live on!  The woman in the office in Paris was extremely helpful and went out of her way to help us, and alhamdulilah the paperwork went through successfully.
The Chamber of Commerce, Algiers

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