17 May Zainab: A Truth-Seeking Artist
When she was 12 years old and living in Iraq, Zainab’s aunt, who lived in Manhattan, Kansas, mailed her a family picture. Zainab would stare at the picture for hours. She would shut her eyes and picture herself standing in the backyard garden with the cousins she had never met. “I dreamed I was in the picture,” she says. “That I dressed how they dressed.” She kept the photo with her.
Zainab’s life is marked with bravery and a determination to pave her own way. At 28, amid life-threatening circumstances, she received an emergency visa. A new mother, she traveled to Egypt with her three-week-old daughter and from there, she arrived in the United States. Her husband was not granted a visa for two years. Two weeks after making it to Texas, she traveled to meet her aunt and uncle in Kansas. The first thing she did was walk straight to the backyard. She had the picture with her. “I stood in the backyard garden and felt happiness.”
Although the United States provided safety, Zainab was confronted with several health struggles upon her arrival. A cancer diagnosis and several miscarriages prevented her from being able to work. She began to feel hopeless.
Zainab found hope again at Vickery Trading Company. She found community. Although they come from different countries and speak different languages, she connects with the other women. When she was sick, every one of them came to her home to encourage her and make her laugh. She has found peace and love with the other refugees, a word she embraces.
When I ask her how VTC has changed her life, tears fill her eyes. “There is no word,” she tells me. After a long pause, she references standing in the backyard in Manhattan, holding the picture she stared at as a child in Iraq. Finally being a part of the picture that provided her with hope. That is how she feels at Vickery. She is herself here.
Zainab has loved fashion all of her life. Merry Berry is her current favorite. As she works, she loves imagining children wearing the clothes she is making. When she began working at Vickery Trading, she had never seen color combinations like Merry Berry before. Now she thinks of the clothes she is sewing as pieces of art. She remembers her college art teacher in Iraq saying that art that is a little more “unreal, with lots of colors, is not art to hang on your wall, but art for your soul.” She is spunky, but gentle. A truth-seeker. Brave and hopeful. Art for your soul.
Now, Zainab faces a new challenge. After a challenging pregnancy, she gave birth to healthy baby boy. We want to help them start off on the right foot! If you’d like to join in, help us by purchasing something from Zainab’s Amazon wishlist.