Refugees are people, with lives and stories. Their stories deserve to be told.
Note from the editor: The following contains graphic content that may disturb some readers.
My name is Pricila Matamoros. I am an online student here in Regent. Why online? I came to Jordan to visit my family. A story like the one you are about to read captivated me.
Two years , I have heard hundreds of stories like these working every week with refugees. I hope that in sharing these, you will start seeing faces and real lives behind the statistics; that you start feeling a burden for these people. Not because they are refugees, but because they are human beings just like you and I.
This is the real story of a Syrian family living in the city of Mafraq, Jordan, as told by a 10-year-old girl.
“We’ve been here about 3 years. My mum, my uncle, my cousin, and I.
Before we left our city, the bad guys took my father and ran over his legs with a tank. Then they shot him. Right in front of me. My older brother, my mum, and I were really scared, so we decided to leave. My uncle told us on WhatsApp that he found somewhere here, in Jordan, [a place] where they wouldn’t kill us, so we left immediately. No clothes, no car, no friends, we just had to leave. I think my cat was really sad that we couldn’t bring her. I miss her.
My older brother said that we could not go by car because the bad guys were going to go after us, so we crossed the desert walking with other families. I recognized some of them from when I went to school, before a bomb fell on it.
I don’t really remember what happened, but I think the bad guys saw us because everyone was running and screaming. My brother helped my mum and I jump over a fence and told us to run. We shouldn’t have because I haven’t seen him since that day. My mum cries a lot still today. She says we will see him again when we reach paradise. She doesn’t want to tell me where it is, but I think it’s America.
When we jumped over the fence we ran as fast as we could. I don’t remember much. I only know that the next morning we found my uncle and his nephew (my cousin). There were a lot of white tents with that blue paint [UNHCR tents in the Za’atari refugee camp, North of Jordan.].
I didn’t like it there. It was really cold at night, and strange men came in the tent during the night. Some of our things would go missing. My mum cried a lot, and I could hear some women screaming and crying at night and that made me cry.
Some time later we left the tent place because uncle and mum said it was better outside. Now we live here in Mafraq. My house in Syria was a lot better… we have to share with many people, and I get really hungry sometimes, but it is not so cold here and my mum cries less.
When we go back home I will find my cat and go back to school. I really like learning, but there are no schools here. Mum says we can’t go back home yet, but one day, when I go to university and speak English, we will.
The foreigners have been teaching me English so that I can speak when we move to America and see my brother again. Mum says we can’t go anymore, but I don’t think that’s true. She says that my auntie called yesterday crying because they don’t speak English and no one speaks Arabic there. She says that men scream at her and that she doesn’t understand. She is really scared. But I will learn English and help them.
This story had been translated from Arabic, adapted into English, and edited for length’s sake.
Priscila Matamoros is a contributor to The Daily Runner.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by the Daily Runner or Regent University.