9/11 – Moving Beyond Fear

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I’ll never forget 9/11 for reasons of my own. Halfway around the world, in a Muslim country, Austin and I watched the towers fall. We sat in the living room of our neighbors, who had become dear friends of ours, and together we watched the events unfold, each of us wrapped in a cloak of horror and disbelief. I will never forget how they turned to us with genuine sorrow and apologized for the events that were unfolding, assuring us that this was not real Islam. As the night rolled on, knowing we had lived in New York, they made sure that our families and those we knew were okay. They cautioned us that this could stir up local extremists but, if it did, we would be safe with them. I had no doubt that they would have given their lives to protect us, if need be. That need never arose but their love and concern for our family was mirrored by many others in our circle of friends. Everywhere we went, they would ask us if our family was okay. Sorrow and compassion were everywhere.
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For nearly a decade, I was not “Marita”. I was “Bhabi” (sister-in-law) or “Sister” to pretty much everyone I met. “Auntie” to the little ones. My boys had hundreds of aunties and uncles. My husband had thousands of brothers. We were family within a much larger family.

We shared countless meals in Muslim homes, and I became chagrined to realize how paltry the best American hospitality is when held up to Muslim hospitality. The food. The love. The laughter. The respect in spite of our differences. And the food – did I already say that?!

Muslim hands held my babies when they were little and washed their dirty diapers without complaining. Muslim hands washed the filth off my son when he fell in the sewer even going so far as to recover his shoes with  bare hands. They pinched my boys’ cheeks and doted on them. They served us tea and showed us where to go. In countless ways, Muslims in Bangladesh loved us, served us and bent over backwards to ensure that we felt at home in their country. If Americans would show half of the hospitality and respect that the Muslims we met showed to us, our land would be a much better place.

And now, “Inshallah” (If God wills it) we may have the privilege to show love and hospitality to 10,000 of them or more. If that happens and you are given the opportunity to cross paths with one of them, don’t be afraid to love them, show hospitality, to serve them, to help them settle into this land, to become family. Don’t be afraid to wield the most powerful force on earth. Love.

People of Pebble – Akik

Akik

Akik – Head of Administrations & Accounts – Admin. & Accts Dept.

  • Likes to play table tennis and eating traditional, rural food.
  • Glad to be part of a business that not only creates employment for Bangladeshi char (silt island) and village women, but is constantly coming out with fantastic new products designed by Samantha Morshed, Pebble’s founder.
  • Develops the annual budget and uses past financial data to forecast for the future.
  • Works closely with shippers, banks and government offices to facilitate the foreign export process.

Faces of Pebble – Rayhan

Executive Director

Rayhan – Executive Director – Admin Dept.

  • Loves to travel and eat fuchska (a Bangladeshi Street Food) with friends.
  • Hates when the rich use the poor as a tool to increase their wealth.
  • Glad to be part of a business that creates jobs for rural Bangladeshi women without any financial investment on their part. It is rewarding for him to know that these jobs create a huge, positive impact on the social structures of Bangladesh through the empowerment of the women of Bangladesh.
  • Rayhan is responsible for keeping Pebble on mission by hiring and managing competent, qualified staff and by promoting that mission in the business and social enterprise community within Bangladesh.
  • He is the voice of Pebble for Pebble’s distributors around the world.
  • Here he holds the Green Octopus Rattle, Pebble’s #1 Bestseller for nearly a decade.