Naim, 27 years old

Reading time: 3 minutes

We started coming to Lebanon 7 years ago, and we would go back to Syria every winter, to spend it there. I used to work as a forger here and there to support my family since 3 of my brothers are soldiers. However the situation changed here when the war started. There is less and less work because of the number of people entering the country. If one wants to buy anything here… it is very expensive and there is no work. If only there was work. I used to work for 20 US dollars a day but the number of Syrians has multiplied and since we all feel for one another now 2 people work for 20 US dollars. Lebanese employers would rather have 2 workers instead of one. What can we do? Any kind of work that would come my way I would take. I have been doing refrigerators, air conditioning, washers, and forgery. I do everything. I walk around Zahlé from the early morning until the evening and look for work but there is nothing. Everyone is afraid. Even the Lebanese are scared of the crisis and of everything; you know what I mean...

I stopped going back to Syria 3 years ago. My mother has not been there for 2 years. All my family is here: my sisters and my father. We all came through the official borders and each year we go to Burjn al-Faour to renew our residency here. Our home in Idlib has collapsed, would you like to see the picture?

When we came here we brought just few of the things we cared about because of how hard it is to move furniture or big items. Some things have sentimental value though, which prevents you from leaving them behind. We brought a kerosene lantern because we were aware of the electricity problems in Lebanon. As you know the electricity here cuts every 4 hours. My mother, Fawza, brought the sewing machine she has had ever since she was a child. This machine is as old as she is, if not older. My mom uses this machine for fixing clothes or anything else allowing her to save time as opposed to sewing with traditional needle and thread. The third object we brought along with us was this copper cumin and spice mortar  from Aleppo, which is also very old. I would have liked to bring everything with me: old photographs or the house furniture. Sadly our whole life’s struggle has been reduced to a pile of stones.