Then he began to describe some of the details that are not quite as well-known, but that are becoming an increasingly common part of daily life for those touched by the unrest: seeing the makeshift tents in the Lebanese countryside as he traveled inward from the border, refugees trying to cross the Syrian border into Lebanon being robbed of everything they have by Syrian border police, people sleeping in the open fields using discarded cardboard as blankets, women giving birth on the road, families of 20 or more living in small, cramped spaces.
Aid providers have some good ideas for how to support these communities, but they can’t implement them fast enough. For them to meet families’ needs, they need more resources, and that means a much greater commitment from the U.S., the Gulf countries, and other major donors.
In the yard below our rooftop, two little boys screamed. Nothing was wrong, they were just at that age when little kids discover that they can make noise of their own, and they were testing out their abilities. As the sun began to set, a low call to prayer drifted out over the fields surrounding the house. It was difficult for us to remember that a few miles away people feared for their lives every day, and that a few yards away people were crammed into one-room temporary structures wondering where their next meal might come from, how to get the medication they needed to keep their insulin levels steady, and how to keep the newborn baby warm when winter came.
But of course, for them, it was impossible to forget.
Grisgraber is an advocate with Refugees International, a non-profit organization that advocates to end displacement and statelessness crises worldwide and accepts no government or UN funding.