We see headlines about the conflict in Syria on a daily basis—but something is missing from those news stories. Most cover the violence… bombings, chemical weapons, civilian deaths. But they rarely mention the families uprooted by the conflict. For more than 1.4 million Syrians, surviving the war has meant fleeing their country. They are now homeless, living in foreign lands like Jordan and Lebanon.
Last week, National Public Radio gave us a window into the lives of Syrian refugees living in Jordan. Middle East correspondent Deborah Amos visited the Za’atari Camp, home to more than 100,000 Syrians at any given time. Oxfam’s Caroline Gluck showed NPR how Za’atari has become a city unto itself–one that no one would create if they had the choice. Oxfam is working in the campto support refugees who need basic services like water and sanitation.
Amos’ story introduces us to Liqaa, a 26-year-old refugee living with her husband in the camp and expecting her first child. She scrapes together ingredients to make Syrian food in their camp trailer in an effort to create normalcy in their life, which has been turned completely upside down.
Listening to Liqaa’s story, you can imagine walking in her shoes. Homeless, afraid, and living in a foreign country, I think I would crave something as familiar as hometown comfort food as well. The basic things that we take for granted are the things that Liqaa and her fellow refugees are living without while also enduring the trauma of escaping (and surviving) violent conflict. Listen to the story below, and then let us know what you think.
You can meet more refugees like Liqaa by following Oxfam on Twitter and Instagram to see the latest photos from the crisis.
With 2,500 to 3,000 Syrians crossing into Jordan each day, Zaatari is now equivalent in size to the fifth-largest city in Jordan. Fifty thousand people arrived in February alone. Oxfam is helping more than 20,000 refugees in the camp by installing water taps and storage towers, latrines, showers, and laundry areas.
Photo: Caroline Gluck/Oxfam
“We’re surrounded by children for most of the day. We walk together, we eat together, we share stories and dreams,” said Farah al-Basha, an Oxfam engineer working in Zaatari. “When the time comes to leave the camp … We’re thinking about how lovely a shower will be, but [then] the kids come and say ‘see you tomorrow’ and we close the doors with a big smile. … We start thinking about what can we do next for those kids.”
Oxfam America is a member of Oxfam, an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in 94 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.
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