Where God leads us, that is where we go.
Rewida, 24 (Azraq Refugee Camp, Jordan)
Rewida has three young girls and is now hoping for a son. Her belly swells with the promise of her next child, and with a demure smile she gently pats the midsection of her burka. Her daughters play nearby with shrieks of laughter, and she gazes at them with a protective smile. No matter where they go, Rewida’s family carries a sense of faith that they can traverse many challenges together.
“I never thought I would leave my home.”
She has been through tough times. Her home in Aleppo was destroyed by a rocket. The family survived and decided to make the trip overland to Syria’s border with Jordan, searching for a place where they could feel safe. They eventually found shelter in a simple shack, inside a refugee camp in Jordan.
A tin roof and metal walls give them protection from the daily wind and dust storms. She misses home, and aches with uncertainty about when, if ever, she’ll return. But she values the peace and predictability of life outside a warzone. No bombs are falling and there is food to eat, even if water is in short supply.
Rewida was diagnosed with tuberculosis last year, as were two of three daughters. They are responding well to treatment, closely monitored by health workers who check on them daily. The treatment is long and the side effects unpleasant, but they will be cured if they stay the course.
Getting over a debilitating illness feeds her sense of hope. The world looks slightly more open to her. When she was growing up in a small village in Syria, Rewida never imagined going anywhere else. Her parents and brothers and sisters were all there. She cooked with fresh vegetables and innumerable spices. Each day had a familiar rhythm. She had little schooling and married at 16. Her life mirrored her mother’s. So, she felt, would that same life extend to her daughters. But now the direction of her life has changed.
Her eldest, Umima, who is 7, attends a school that has already taught her to read better than Rewida can. That is allowing Rewida to see that school offers the promise of more than she imagined, more than anyone talked about in her old village. Rewida now plans to send all her daughters to school for as many years as they can. Crossing borders, living in a new place, there are new possibilities. As her daughters laugh and play, Rewida smiles knowingly. Her faith in God, she says, helps her imagine a new future.