In the home of Syrian refugees

May 29, 2017

Away from the training for a couple of hours, Maha, John Phaneuf our videographer, and I visit a Syrian refugee family. I’ve never seen the house before, but I know the woman who greets me at the door and the man standing inside it. I had visited them 4 years ago in another smaller apartment on an earlier trip to Amman.

Inside the house are their four small children and the oldest, a ten year old girl. Two of the little ones have been born since I was last there. The girl, bent over in her wheelchair, unable to say more than a word, but sweetly, uncannily friendly and smiling, is unmistakable.

Life for them is still horribly hard and unfair. The man is only able to find work occasionally and too often is cheated out of his salary. And the longing for home has not left them. But they look less harried, no longer welded to cellphones that are their only link to endangered family members still in Syria, better fed, more playful with the children.

Inevitably, a comparison comes. There are a million Syrian refugees in Jordan. Their life is difficult but they are accepted. There have been no terrorist bombs. But so many in the US are so afraid that they will not welcome even one well-vetted family.

The coffee the woman serves– thick, strong, and sweet– is the best I’ve had in Jordan. This rather improbable reunion makes the Syrian couple as happy as it does me. Perhaps it’s an omen of homecoming.

Part 6: Drawing pictures of hope