Suddenly the brazen sound of a horn scared him, and he couldn’t help himself, he suddenly screamed, and then started coughing because of the traffic fumes and other air pollution.  He felt a sudden disappointment as the dark side of this magical city started to affect him.

After an hours drive, they reached a big house.  It had all possible facilities and luxuries. Once inside the house, it took Akram half an hour to grasp the first look of everything. He wasn’t in a state to absorb everything as he couldn’t decipher many of the abstract and antique things surrounding him.

It made him feel restless and disturbed, and these feelings remained throughout his stay.

Luckily, there was a small patch of lawn near the gate, when Shams first saw it he was rather surprised, as he hadn’t seen it before. but it seemed to sparkle to Akram’s eyes, and he tried to spend most of his time on this patch of grass, where he reminisced about his past life, especially the pasture and the herd that he had left behind in the custody of an old villager.

After a week, Shams noticed the glint of desperation in Akram’s. He took him to the backyard of his house where there was a separate room. Shams unlocked it and together they entered.  It was an old room, and dim, there were lots of things inside, arranged immaculately. For a moment, Akram couldn’t understand it all, but then a smile broke onto his face when he noticed some articles quite familiar to him. There was a stick, a bundle of ropes, some neck collars with small bells, and some old pictures of a pasture hanging on the wall. Shams could see a sudden change in his expression from nervous and worried, to excited and elated. For a minute or two, Akram stared at the pictures without even blinking, as if he was lost in them.

In a few of the pictures, he could see a boy of his own age standing next to a flock of sheep. He could relate these pictures with his own life and felt curious about them.

He looked at Shams and asked, “Where is this place, and who is this boy?”

Shams replied, “There is another story like yours. Do you want to listen to it?”

Akram nodded eagerly, and they both sat on a couple of old style wooden chairs. Shams remained silent for a moment as if he was searching for the words to tell this story. After a minute or two, he started the story like this:

“Years ago this pasture was near a valley on the Pak-Afghan border where immigrants took refuge after years of turmoil in Afghanistan.  The boy was part of the exodus that left Afghanistan, chased by pain and misery. He was only ten when he migrated from his country, leaving behind his house, close friends, and his village. He spent his life as a shepherd for a year as it was the only way of living in that valley.

One day, a team of people from a welfare organization came to conduct a survey on immigrants. There was a senior team leader who was thoroughly inspired by this boy and his work. He offered to adopt the boy, and his offer was accepted. The team leader brought him to the city and provided him with every comfort that one could imagine at his age.  He had not children of his own, and so being the only kid the shepherd boy gained the full attention of every member of the house. He was brought up in an ideal environment and got the best education. After completing his studies, he started his own welfare organization for the children who were being deprived of the basic facilities, and with the help of international welfare organizations he began carrying out his work, full of passion and devotion.  He tirelessly explored every single area to find refugees and to provide them with better living facilities.

Akram was listening to this story intensely and couldn’t fail to notice the many similarities between this story and his life. After telling the story, Shams showed him all the things that he had kept for so many years. After going through them, Akram curiously asked, “Where is this boy now?” It was such an abrupt question that Shams couldn’t answer.  He felt moisture in his eyes but he tried to hold back his tears and changed the topic. After some time looking through more photographs, they returned to the house, preoccupied with memories that were so similar.

The next day Akram insisted on going back to the camps, and Shams accepted on one condition that Akram would start his education soon. Akram had never seen a school, not even in his village in Afghanistan, but after listening to the story yesterday he felt motivated to go, but in the next moment, he thought of the pasture that had been his whole world and feeling torn he went to his room to get some sleep. Next morning, he shared his fears with Shams, the he felt he would lose his place, especially the pasture because of this education, and he didn’t want that at all. To his surprise, Shams shared his secret, he was going to build a school in the camps so that all the children could enjoy the natural environment and continue their work. Akram was so delighted on hearing this he started dreaming new dreams.