Regaining our value as human beingApril 20, 2022
Showing the hand of GodMay 16, 2022
Wafaa and her youngest daughter Dounia in front of the church’s education center
My name is Wafaa and I am from Syria. We emigrated because of the war and we have been in Lebanon for 10 years now. When the war broke out, I was alone with my children and it was extremely scary and tough on us. The drones would fly over our house every day. Anytime something happened where we were, we had to flee to rural areas which were not under attack. Our kids were very young and I had to carry them around so many times. Several times we didn’t even have time to take pajamas, we just ran away as fast as possible. We never knew where trouble would be coming from.
My husband brought us to Lebanon. It wasn’t easy for me to leave Syria, and I didn’t know that the situation would escalate and extend up until now. Just after we came here, the house got destroyed and it got robbed. All our plans were shattered. We struggled when we first came here because we did not know anyone, and my husband was the only one to work and provide for all eight of us.
We are now settled in an unfinished building which is very musty and humid. It’s made up of stone but in winter, water seeps in and it soaks the carpets. My husband, kids, sister, brother-in-law, their son, and I are staying in the same one-room house. The kids and I are staying in the kitchen and my sister’s family is staying in the other room until they find somewhere else to stay. My sister and her husband do not have jobs, so my husband is the only one supporting this entire household financially.
Thank God, we are all in good health overall, but my husband has high blood pressure and needs to take a medicine for it. I also have developed a herniated disk because of the cleaning work I took to help my husband. The current inflation has been harsh on us to the extent where no matter how much more we work, we are unable to catch up with the increase in prices. We have a big family and we need at least six packs of bread a day, in addition to the food we cook. My husband and I are unable to secure enough money.
Half of my children are uneducated because I didn’t know where to enroll the oldest ones when we first came to Lebanon. I have an 18-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son who were not able to get an education because when we first came here, Syrians were not admitted into public schools. I also have a daughter with special needs, who is 10 years old, and the youngest of all, Dounia, is now 9 years old.
When the church has diapers, they give me some. The church also gives us food vouchers, blankets, mattresses, and heating supplies. When I first came to the church, I felt like it was a foreign place to me. Very soon though, as we got to meet the people here and spend more time with them, we became very comfortable. We felt at peace, more than in the outer community. Some people from our community were not pleased with us getting to know the church and tried to scare us. So I told them that I wished we all were like the Christians and that we all had the mercy, love, and honesty that they have within their hearts.
Later, we enrolled our two school aged children in their education center. I am so thankful for how they raise the kids because they are happy here and are learning a lot. They also have become more polite and their personalities changed to the better. Our 15 years old son used to be in school too, but given the current situation, we got him a job so that he can help us financially. He really loves school and he waits for his day off to come to attend classes. The school welcomes him and allows him to join.
When we first came to Lebanon, I placed my kids in public schools for two years. But they didn’t learn anything, not even the alphabet! They weren’t learning anything from the teachers but learnt all foul language and bad habits from the other children in school, it used to drive me crazy to see that.
Once I transferred them to this education center, they finally started to learn. Now they can both read and write in Arabic, and they are even learning English! They have been enrolled for four years now and they know everyone. This center is like home for them. Thank God, the people here love my children and treat them very kindly.
I feel like there is mercy here. The teachers empathize with the children and really care about them. The children love coming here so much! If my daughter gives me a hard time, I tell her “Behave, or you won’t go to school tomorrow!” That is the most efficient threat because of how much she hates to miss a single school day!
Nowadays, things seem to be getting harder and harder. But I am counting on God and I am leaving things in His hands. If there is something that is meant for me, I know that God will send it my way or ease the way to it.
I wish that all my children were able to receive an education. I also pray to find someone to help me take care of my disabled daughter so I can work and support my husband in providing for our family. I hope that my children will live a peaceful life where they can love others and be loved.