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Love, Loss and new Life in Lebanon

Love, Loss and new Life in Lebanon – 21 Nov 2017

Cedra is one of the 2 million refugees who make up almost a third of Lebanon’s population today. She’s also one of thousands of people being helped by our partner, MERATH. Cedra’s situation threatens to
reduce her to a statistic, but her painful story is a strong shout of protest against anonymity…

“Before the war, my life in Syria was very stable. I was married with three children, two girls and a boy. I felt like I owned the whole world. We had a large piece of land and big trucks. We worked hard for our house and fixed everything in it. Then the war came. I felt very scared for my children. We used to have to run from house to house.

One day, at 6am, we heard that ISIS where coming to our neighbourhood. I took my three children and my cousin’s daughter and left the house. Snipers started shooting at me as we ran. I was holding my son across my chest and my daughters by the hand. I was eight months’ pregnant at the time.

The bullet went through my son’s shoulder to his heart. There is nothing I could ever say to explain that moment. My cousin’s daughter was also killed. My father came to get us and rushed us to the hospital. But, by the time we got there, my son was dead. My father went back to our home and we’ve never heard from him again. He is probably dead too. In 30 minutes I lost my son, my father and my cousin’s daughter.

I heard later that ISIS took our land. They stole or burnt everything; they’ve also taken our trucks and tractors. They put a notice on our property saying, ‘This land belongs to ISIS.’ They bombed our house too. There’s only rubble left. Even the pickles I had made for the winter…all of it is gone.

When I came to Lebanon three-and-a-half years ago, I felt very lost. We came in winter when it was snowing. My husband helped us find a tent to share with other families and he’s now working in Syria so we can afford the rent. Now, I have five daughters. When I first met the local pastor, I was very depressed. I just wanted to feel good inside and thought that was more important than anything else – even our finances. I started attending the church and felt loved. My personality began to change and the depression went away. If I could come every day, I would. One day, I believe I will see my son in
heaven: that’s what keeps me going. The church gave me this hope.

It’s really difficult here. I wish I had my own tent. We are living with relatives and friends, and I find it hard to raise the kids with all those other people. My kids often ask me
if they can go to a park or somewhere to play. In Syria, I could let them play on our land: here, we live near a road.

I’ve suffered a lot but the church has made things easier. They’ve provided for our basic needs and given me fuel for the winter and food when we need it. They’ve also helped get my girls back in school. That’s when things really changed for the better. They are learning again, more aware of everything around them, and they’re better emotionally too.

My dream is to go back to Syria, to live a stable life with my husband and our daughters in one home. And I want my girls to learn how to love and respect others.”

Please follow this link to support our life-saving work.

Story told to Niamh Daly through Integral Alliance.
Photo: Our local partner MERATH (Middle East Revive and Thrive) in Lebanon is giving children in Lebanon access to non-formal education and safe spaces to play. Credit: Helen Manson

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