Lush’s “Hand of Friendship” Soap

by Weam Namou

We’re at Partridge Creek mall, enjoying the nice weather, observing the fancy dogs, some of which had spent more time getting ready for this little expedition than I had, when my daughter and I decide to stop at Lush to buy handmade bath soaps which are made from natural ingredients. Heading in that direction, I notice a big sign written in Arabic. It says, “Ahalan Wa Sahlan” – “Welcome.”

Intrigued, I wonder why they’d chosen Arabic in particular to welcome their buyers. Inside, I learn that Lush, which started in the UK, has introduced a limited edition soap to raise money to help refugees resettle. The soap, called “Hand of Friendship” shows fingers interlinked in the shape of a heart. It’s only $5.95 and all money raised from sales will go to families being settled in Canada and the US. Their sign says, “Extend a hand of friendship to our new neighbors.”

I bought one, of course, not only to support the cause but to have this beautiful reminder at home, whenever I wash my hands: that most humans are good at heart, always finding creative ways to make beautiful things and to give. Especially in western countries and certain spiritual societies, where creativity is encouraged and nurtured, people are always finding ways to say “Ahlan Wa Sahlan” to love, to giving, to acceptance!

While I was unable to do anything to prevent innocent people from torture and suffering at the hands of unnecessary wars and political greed, I can at least say to those who were lucky enough to escape the misery, “Ahlan Wa Sahlan.”