“So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it… And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds…” (Genesis 1:21).
Last Thursday we saw all types of God’s creatures in Jerusalem’s zoo: big and small, colorful and dangerous. It was a day full of joy and excitement for all the Kurdish children and mums. We were a large group of eighteen people discovering the zoo.
You could see that everyone was happy to participate on this trip – to find a bit a distance from the daily life at Shevet and to forget the sorrows of the states of health of the children for a moment. Our exploration started at the compound of the monkeys and the birds. However Marya’s mum was full of anticipation and couldn’t wait to see the big, dangerous animals. She wasted no time in saying, “Don’t waste the time at the little animals, I want to see the big animals – like the lions and tigers!” When we actually did come to the lion and tiger’s compounds, her face turned into a big smile and you could see her deep satisfaction of seeing her favorite animals.
Not only were the mums a bit overwhelmed with joy at the sight of all the animals, the kids were also happy to see the huge variety of God’s creatures. I never saw the kids so excited and happy before.
Without fear they enjoyed watching the animals eating, sleeping, and moving around the compound. Mohammed, who really loves our dog named “Shevy”, called out Shevy’s name while at the lion’s compound. For some reason, he perceived that both of these animals looked quite the same and therefore had no doubt that he was watching Shevy. So he called for Shevy the whole time he was watching the lion.
Not only were the mums enjoying spending time with their happy kids. The Shevet staff also loved spending time with the mums while having great conversations and connecting with the children through this shared experience. At almost every compound, we took pictures of the animals and the families so that they will be able to tangibly look back on memories of this happy day.
When we visited our last station at the zoo, we stood in front of a huge arc. It reminded us of the story of Noah – who was obedient to God and saved a select number of animals from being drowned. In front of the arc we took our last picture. I hope no one will forget this trip which was filled with gratefulness and amazement of God’s creativity and love to his creation.