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Syria: family mornings in Damascus

Nada helps out with family mornings at the JRS Centre in Damascus, Syria. (Jesuit Refugee Service)
Monday, May 06, 2013

(Damascus) May 5, 2013 — How lovely is a meeting between human beings, a meeting in which we desire to show our love and feelings towards each other. I felt something similar to this when I met the families at the Jesuit Refugee Service St. Albert Hurtado House in Bab Touma. Neither I nor they had known each other before, but I felt as if we had known each other for a long time.

When we met for the first time, I knew I wouldn't be able to give them what they needed at this difficult time. I couldn't offer them the physiotherapy or psychological assistance they may need.

Rather, it was a chance meeting between their and my deep need to express the love inside our hearts, in spite of our different perspectives on what is happening around us.

I met and played with the children who — like many Syrian children — have been exposed to atrocities beyond comprehension. Yet, I'll never forget the look on their faces, their eagerness to be with each other. 

God has brought us together to build this country, where everyday lives are separated and destroyed. The more we have this sense of separation, the more we need to get together in this simple way.

I spent my time listening to the stories these families had to tell – the emotions, and sometimes the tears they needed to express. Our conversations weren't just words; they were heartfelt dialogues.

We spent our time together preparing the traditional fowl dish which is the most popular Syrian breakfast. Such a simple homely activity felt good despite everything that was going on beyond the walls of the house.

However, what deeply affected me is their feeling of joy in spite of all they have suffered - the houses, memories, loved ones and hopes they have lost. They are still together as families and have the will of life to help each other overcome these difficulties.

For a moment we experienced [in St Albert Hurtado House] the idea of what we dreamed the future in Syria could be like.

by Nada (not her real name), a JRS volunteer in Damascus who spent time with displaced families at the JRS house in Bab Touma.

JRS teams in Damascus also provide emergency relief, educational and psychosocial activities to more than 1,000 displaced families in the capital city and the surrounding areas. Support the work of JRS in Syria here.