In the evening, Shams took him back to the camps, but this time they were both excited and full of hope.  Akram rushed towards the pasture and he started shouting out his joy. The place always left him feeling rejuvenated and full of life, so he spent that night in the pasture under the sky full of stars. He was actually obsessed with every part of the place and greeted the stars as he would long lost friends.

Within a month Shams had laid the foundation of a small school in that area, and with the help of a team of volunteers he invited Akram to take part.  Akram enthusiastically participated as a volunteer and in a month’s time they had built a double storey wooden house with four rooms. Akram was the first student enrolled in the school, but there were many refugees who joined him afterwards, most of them were shepherds too. It was the first school to be built in that area and Shams felt a sense of pride and satisfaction while looking at the building. Two teachers were hired and he promised to join them from time to time.

After a while, Shams was in the village to see to some administration matters for the school, and Akram decided to take him to his secret place - the forest.   The place  that he considered to be heaven on earth. Without disclosing his secret, Akram led Shams there, but it seemed as if this wonderous place wasn’t a revelation for Shams. He just smiled his usual smile, and then shouted loudly,  “Déjà vu (I have experienced it)”.  This time it was Shams who surprised Akram as he held Akram’s hand firmly and rushed along the meandering path that lead to the other side of the forest, opening up into another adjoining valley, that Akram had never seen. For a moment Akram thought he was back in his own valley, but then he saw it was only similar to his own, in that it had the same kind of houses, people, and cattle, but the layout was different. Shams took him to a small house at the head of the valley and explained to him that it was the house where he had spent his childhood as an immigrant, and where he had worked as a proud shepherd. He told him that the pictures and the story were actually his own.

In the evening as they were both sitting on a mound near the forest, Shams asked Akram, “Would you like to become a shepherd in a city like me?" With a tender smile, Akram replied, “Yes! but this time, this place will be that city.”

 


 This story was written by  a student with the Learn English Network.  It is published here with their permission.