Bringing much needed joy and beauty to lifeSeptember 9, 2022
Winter in the time of CholeraNovember 1, 2022
Khadija standing outside the tent where she lives in the Bekaa valley
Before the war, life was normal and easy. There was safety and we didn’t need anything. We lived in our own houses and didn’t have to pay rent. Soon enough after the beginning of the Syrian war, the conflict expanded to our area and our houses got destroyed.
Most of my children and I fled to Lebanon in 2014, leaving behind my husband who was too old to travel and a few of our children. I haven’t seen them since. We came by car to the border and then crossed the mountains walking because the border was already closed. We settled in this camp and built our tent with wood and tarps provided by the UN. We are five people in this room and three people sleep in the nearby room.
Life in the camp is becoming increasingly unbearable. These days, we can only eat once a day, but we thank God. Most days we can only eat bread and tea. But it is hard to find bread at the bakery nowadays. Even if some is available, they don’t want to sell it to us Syrians.
There is nothing we are not in need of.
A part of us died last winter. We couldn’t afford wood or fuel for heating. We had to burn whatever was available, from nylon to shoes even. Any time it rained, water was leaking from the roof and we had to put buckets everywhere. During the snowstorm, our roof collapsed under the weight of the snow.
Thank God no one was under the tent when it happened and no one was harmed. We contacted Mazen from the church because he had already been helping us with food boxes. Brother Mazen is so helpful to the people here. There is no one like him. He gives us milk and diapers when available and he got beanies and jackets for the children last winter. He also came to help us fix our roofs and brought tarps during the snowstorm.
We are very worried about the upcoming winter, that it will be as bad as the last one or even worse. We desperately need mattresses and blankets, as you can see we have none. My son and his wife only have two small blankets although they have two children and are expecting their third one. It is not enough to keep everyone warm. And this year things are even more expensive than the last one, we can’t afford anything at all.
Of course ideally, we would love to go back to Syria at some point but the situation there is even worse than here. If we go back, where would we live? All our houses and villages are destroyed. Some of us are so traumatized by what they experienced that they feel they could never go back. Even if the women were to go back, the men couldn’t because they would be arrested or taken into the army.
Our hope for the future is for the situation to get better in Syria and for God to take us back.
Brother Mazen last winter, helping families from the camp fix their tents