At the time of the collision, Hanna Touma was standing in the doorway of the family’s cabin. She was talking to one of the other migrants from her village. It was just a jolt, but it made the door slam shut, cutting her index finger. Two of the men went to find out what had happened while Hanna went to the Infirmary to get her hand bandaged. Everyone she passed wondered what had caused the jolt and why the ship had stopped. The people looked worried, but Hanna could not understand what they said. The men returned and said the ship had struck an iceberg. They were told to stay in their cabins, to remain calm, and pray. The time was 11.40pm, the day Sunday, the date 14 April 1912.
It was four days earlier, on the evening of Wednesday 10 April, that the family had joined the ship at Cherbourg. They had been waiting in a hotel in the French port for six days. While the Titanic had been undergoing its sea trials, Hanna and the children had been travelling to Beirut, in the Lebanon, thousands of miles to the East. Hanna Youssef Razi was born in the tiny village of Tibnin on 10 April 1885 and her future husband Darwis Touma in 1870. They had got married in 1899. Hanna had been 14, Darwis 29. The couple had two children: Maria (born in October 1902) and Georges (born in February 1904).
Working in the onion fields, Darwis had saved a little money to pay for a passage to America. His brother Abraham had gone with him. They settled in the small town of Dowagiac, Michigan. Their plan, like that of most migrants, was to earn enough to send for their families to join them. Darwis had little success in this and seven years passed. He couldn’t save as he had been sending Hanna a little money from time to time. Abraham, on the other hand, had saved enough since he had no dependants to support. He sent his sister-in-law enough money for the trip, along with a piece of paper which said ‘Dowagiac, Michigan’. His intention was to surprise his brother.
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