Oud Manal Rawaeh
When I was in Syria I used to play an instrument called oud. It is an Arabic instrument. I have been playing music from my childhood and I love this instrument very much. But when I got married I was very busy and I left the oud because I had many duties. I went to my job every day, I was a lab technician working with blood transfusion. Sometimes it was just me in the lab and I worked 24 hours straight, so there was no time. But in my spare time I tried to play music because this is my childhood hobby.
The past circumstances for us to leave our home in Idlib was because of the war. The house next to ours was bombed and destroyed completely. I remember standing in the kitchen and all the glass exploding because of the pressure. We left straight away without taking anything – even though our house was full of designer things. We left to Turkey and stayed there for about two years before we came here. It was very difficult to take my instrument with me when I went to Turkey so I missed playing music in that period. Life was hard. My husband worked making furniture, twelve hours a day for very low pay because they do not pay Syrians correctly.
I arrived to Nottingham in November 2016 by resettlement programme. When we arrived all the British people from the Refugee Forum and the old Syrian families welcomed us here. We found everything ready for us – the house and everything. I have to study English at college so I can work in a laboratory here, even though I already know all the scientific terminology because in Syria we had to write all the reports in English. But the biggest surprise for me – when the Syrian families made a special party for Mother’s Day and invited me to come. And in this party, they had planned to give a gift to me. That gift was oud.