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Tears on the Syrian Border

We weren’t prepared for what we were about to see. We entered this little hut, with nothing in the windows except torn plastic in the window frame. In the entrance room, there were ten little Syrian refugee orphans with not a parent to take care of them. (In Syria, an orphan is someone who loses their mother or father, not necessarily both—these children had lost both!) There were only uncles, cousins and relatives taking care of this mob of children. They were from three different families, eking out a living on the edges of this border town. One group of siblings had lost their mother to a sniper’s bullet while they were passing through eastern Aleppo’s safe passage corridor. Over New Year’s, we drove to the Syrian border to assist the many refugees pouring in, to assist in whatever way we can and to gain a greater understanding of the magnitude of this dire situation. Shaz from England arrived over the New Year’s holidays to bring more aid that he had collected back home. The aid is mainly financial and we often give the families a new house, furniture and money for the bills for the year ahead. On day two of Shaz Shauket's visit, we went to the border. We started with dropping in on a school we had assisted back in early 2015. We told them we wanted to help orphans and widows. They took us to the first family, some little kids being cared for their grandmother, the only living relative of their immediate family. We gave her aid for all her winter bills. We then went to the outskirts of Reyhanli. That was where we encountered the dilapidated little hut with the ten orphan kids and relatives. We immediately went to town and hired a laborer to put in windows and bought high quality mattresses so they could get off the thin mats they were sleeping on. Our sponsor gave them a gift to get through the next few months, so they can hopefully learn how to survive here. It was a day of such contrasts: the deep sadness when a refugee widow shares her story versus the deep abiding joy you find when a child’s face lights up in laughter after receiving a simple gift; agonizing on how can you dry the tears of a heart that is crying, wishing you could do so much more; wondering why there has to be so much death, yet rejoicing to see people who have lived so close to death so full of life.

It was difficult for Talal to be so close to Syria where his family lives and whom he hasn’t seen for three and a half years.., but then he goes and hugs the orphan kids and says, “When I hug them, I see my little brothers who I miss so much.” It is easy to shed a tear… so many thoughts run through your mind and they are hard to sort out, but we were happy we went and feel privileged to share the gifts that people had sent to help these in dire need. Thanks so much!

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