Fadia, 38 years old

I came to Lebanon about a year ago, around April 2014. Even before that I already had to leave my hometown al-Quassayr after it was heavily bombed and go to Damascus. I stayed there for a little while until I was faced with the same situation: killing, bombing and destruction. I decided to leave Damascus. I went to a smuggler and we, along with a group of people, shared the same car and the fees requested for human trafficking. We entered Arsal and from there we went to Halba where I stayed for about 4 months.

I was struggling to pay the rent but fortunately I met a woman from the women’s association who told me about shared housing in Koucha, and helped me with my relocation request. I was moved to Koucha and have been living here ever since.

While I was still in Damascus I went back to al-Quassayr one day; I went to see my home and I was in tears. The whole area had been demolished and destroyed; no house remained as it was. After I found and recognized my home I wished I could take lots of things dear to my heart but I could not. In the end I took a number of photos that my son loved and a book that was a present from my daughter. I took the book with me even though it was torn and filthy due to the destruction happening all around. I still have the book with me until this day.

When I try to remember what we used to have at home in Syria I can recall the house, the car, the furniture, maybe some clothes… However all these things do not mean much to me because in my opinion all of them can be replaced whereas the memories from our homes and from Syria are what we really lost. One of the things I am sad to have lost is my home library. I love reading and I had an uncountable number of books, along with a few presents from my friends. Things with sentimental value are what matter to me.

When I arrived in Lebanon I was feeling fear and devastation. I became withdrawn and stopped socializing with people. I felt as if I was being tortured. Today though, especially after moving to Koucha, I feel like I am getting my strength back bit-by-bit, day-by-day. With the help of the people here, I started recovering and I feel like I am slowly standing on my feet again. I am getting my self-confidence back and regaining trust in people around me.

My state of mind is better than before; of course the longing for home and for the memories of it are still with me. It is something that I can never ever forget. Nevertheless life has to go on and I have faith that life will keep going on, whether it is in the past or in the present, it will keep going. So why should we let it go on with pain, sorrow and despair, while we are still standing? No! One should always be up to the challenge, and able to stop and rearrange one’s days all over again.