Why else are we here?
I'm in London at the moment, spending time with my 16 year old son. He's headed back to Colorado in a week and me, well I'm headed to Lebanon. I have an opportunity to research and film life in a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon and I just could not pass it up.
This issue, or I should say, the plight of the Syrian people has taken me since I began to see images of their circumstance and mass exodus from Syria a few years ago. I have explored avenues and ways to get involved at some level for three years now, from offering my home to Syrian refugees to applying for relief and research jobs inside of Syria. None of those doors even cracked open for me. Until now.
I am being hosted by HumanWire, a Boulder, CO based NGO which facilitates direct relief to refugees. You can support their work at www.humanwire.org.
Why am I going? What do I hope to accomplish? What do I expect will happen? All great questions of which I have only one answer, in the form of a reflective question. Why else am I here if not to learn, to explore, to see and feel and taste for myself the struggle of my fellow human beings? My whole life I've never been able to come up with an adequate answer to that dogging question other than going and diving into stories that are certainly complex but painfully simple. Families are having their homes and neighborhoods obliterated so they are on the run. To Europe, yes, but mostly to Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. In fact, according to UNHCR, only 10% of the 4.5 million refugees have made it to Europe. The rest are in seeking refuge in neighboring countries. And a further 6.5 million are displaced inside Syria.
I will only be in Lebanon for 8 days, working with HumanWire to tell the story of the people in the Ziknaf camp. I have no idea what to expect, but I'd love you to follow along if you're so inclined. I hope to post a photo or video blog as often as possible, depending on internet availability and time.
Who knows what I will come home with? Stories and images to be sure. Maybe a sense of overwhelming hopelessness within a dire situation. But honestly, in my travels, that has never happened. The resilience and optimism of people living through hell has never ceased to show up in every place I have ever been. That's the story I will be looking for. I hope I'm up to the task of finding it and telling, for all of our sakes.
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Thank you to my recent clients whose patronage to C2D helps supports these types of endeavors (East Simpson Coffee Company / Inner Ocean / Columbine Roofing).