Born a Refugee Part II: Hardships

By: Katie Huish

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Last time, in Born a Refugee Pt. 1 I touched on our visit with the many women in one family with the two small infants. Now, take a glimpse into the hardships these families experience.

That day, they continued to share about their experience fleeing their homes and coming to find refuge in the Beqaa Valley. As I complimented the children, one of the women within the group mentioned that they had a sister in Syria who had been pregnant. At that time, all of them were still in Syria but the war was terrible and the regime had control of most areas. Their sister, Yana had been full term carrying her baby. She was having intense contractions and they needed to seek medical attention as it was apparent she would need to receive a C-section as there had been complications. Unfortunately, they would not allow them to get to a hospital for a long period of time. They finally were allowed to take Yana but just before getting to the hospital, they lost Yana and the baby.

Just within months of this happening, their other sister Amena had also been at full term ready to deliver and she also needed a C-section. Many of these women typically just would have midwives deliver in the homes. Amena made it to the hospital and delivered a healthy baby boy. But unfortunately, as they were about to leave the hospital, it was hit with a barrel bomb which was likely dropped by the regime.

Safety has become a huge concern for these women because of various factors whether because of the war itself or because of their access to medical attention.

On a different day, we visited a different camp that was a bit more dense and compact. We were welcomed into a large living space that was again shared by many women whom were related. They shared similar stories of grief and hardship which occurred due to the war. 

One of the main women explained that she had two daughters 12 and 14. These girls had not had proper nutritious meals for months. But also, the 12 year old had just been married for the second time. This is likely partially a result of the lack of resources. These are heartbreaking stories that seem so far and out of reach to us, but to these individuals are very real situations of their every day lives in the Beqaa.

Reflecting upon all of this, it reminds me how small our problems are. As a university student, I often feel as though I don’t have “enough” but realistically, our American idea of not having enough has zero comparison to that in which these individuals are experiencing. The actual lack of running water, of security in the home, shared and few toilets, small rations of food, and no income. That is hardship. 

Even after experiencing the secondhand trauma from taking in these stories, and showing love and compassion to these refugees through their hardships that so many don’t understand why it is happening, I trust in the Lord, my savior, that He has some good to come from this. Hills and valleys, not just valleys. 

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Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.