We had spent an hour or so sitting with this Syrian family on the floor of their informal tent shelter in the Bekaa Valley, on the Lebanese side of the Syrian border. We heard their stories. We laughed at the feistiness of the mama of the family. We felt their pain and their loss, and we joined them in their hope as they sit day in and day out in a state of limbo, not knowing what the future holds.
I spent a good chunk of time while we were talking having my hair braided, (and braiding in return), by this sweet girl in the Minnie Mouse pink jacket, Wazira, and some of her sisters and friends. She is 10, the same age as my girls.
I snapped the photo of Wazira and her dad Khaleel just before we left. She ran back in the tent and popped herself down beside him like my girls would do with their dad and put her hand on his knee to smile for the photo. Him, with a protective arm around her, the weight of the world on his shoulders. He carries the responsibility of raising this vivacious 10 year old, the fifth of six children, all relying on him to be their hero and teach them the ways of the world. But what kind of a future can he provide for them…
I’m back home with a solid roof over my head, heating to keep my family and I warm as the days start to cool, but what of Wazira and Khaleel? I can’t just pretend I never met them and move on with my life as usual.
Something has to change.