By Nadia Nubana – 2007 Ramallah Friends School graduate
Nadia Nubana, currently enrolled in a six-week internship at Reid Hospital, is temporarily living in hospital provided housing on Quaker Hill. That she can see the headquarters of Friends United Meeting from her apartment has significant emotional impact for the young medical student from Palestine, and thereby, as they say, hangs a tale.
Nadia was born in Lincolnwood, Illinois, but when she was eight years old, her parents, desiring to immerse their seven children in their native culture and heritage, returned the family to Palestine.
Not surprisingly, young Nadia found the cultural and social difference jarring and adjustment somewhat difficult. The very ambient noise was different; everything seemed to her to be dusty and dirty and the language spoken in daily discourse was no longer her familiar English. Most evenings Nadia could hear missiles flying over her home, bombs shaking the rafters and nearby gunfire. She spent many nights frightened that she would not be alive to see the next morning.
In one particularly disturbing incident soldiers pounded on the door of their home demanding entrance. When her father opened the door, she could see a tank with its turret pointed at their home. Her father’s insistence that the house was one with children and that the soldiers should look elsewhere for a bunker was ignored, and the family was ordered to move to the basement. Fear grabbed her heart. Throughout that night she was terrified, but the next morning the soldiers left and peace was temporarily restored to her home.
Despite this chaos, Nadia’s father continually impressed upon all his children the importance of education and that they were to be the best in everything that they did because hard work was the key for success. The oasis of stability and peace where Nadia was able to pursue education was the Ramallah Friends School. Appreciating that she could obtain an education leading to greater opportunities, Nadia’s parents, though skeptical of a potential for western cultural influence, reluctantly gave permission for her to attend the Quaker institution, but with strict understanding that she honor and observe her Muslim heritage.
Disinterested in the connection leading from Ramallah to Richmond, Indiana, Nadia rejoiced in feeling secure and safe within the walls of RFS. Allowed to focus on study, she could see a new world of opportunities unfolding before her. Though uncertain exactly in what manner it could occur, she saw a potential to become someone who could be a positive force in the world.
Indeed, the Friends school led her to greater opportunity. Upon graduation from RFS and the International Baccalaureate Program, Nadia was accepted in the fall of 2007 at Manchester University and returned to the United States. At Manchester she found she had a voice, one that could speak care and comfort to those in need. That voice, she determined, would speak through medicine, and she left Manchester University to pursue a medical degree at Indiana University Medical School, Terre Haute.
This circuitous journey has brought her to Quaker Hill, Richmond, Indiana, where outside the window of her apartment she can see the institution that owns and operates Ramallah Friends School, the haven of peace and quiet study where she began her educational odyssey.
For Nadia, Friends United Meeting has been an instrument of peace and opportunity. Through the care and oversight of FUM, Nadia is beginning to realize her dream of helping and caring for people. For this, she is eternally grateful.