April 2023 mission
After only three weeks, we are back in Turkey.
This time it will be the other way around: we have obtained three days’ permission in Syria and this will allow us to work well and without haste. We want to distribute the first 150 tents as well as food and financial support. The funds have arrived and the local team is already in contact with suppliers and has organised every detail. We are Arianna and Paolo, the photographer.
We decide to sleep in Syria, to make the most of the day, and this is one of the best decisions we have ever made.
We are hesitant, a little fearful as it is normal. But with us is Bakri who coordinates the local team and Yahya, his brother, and our trusted collaborator on Turkish soil.
Yahya met his mother after eight years, an intimate and profound moment that we observe with composed emotion.
I, Arianna, touched by the loss of mine a few months ago, see a mother and son whom the war has separated and good fortune is bringing together again.
I think of whole families broken in the same way.
We sleep at the lady’s home, in the green countryside outside Idlib.
We share evening dinners and nightly breakfasts, we are in Ramadan and during the day the people refrain from drinking and eating.
The next day we sleep instead at Atma’s camp, at Bakri’s. At his home, with his family. Very few comforts, great hospitality.
We are at home, we are among friends. This we take with us as we say goodbye when we cross the border at the end of the third day.
In the three days we have seen a lot, visited those waiting for us from the previous mission, delivered and set up the first tents, distributed food and financial support.
Still rubble in our eyes, still stray humanity.
Beautiful, smiling children playing on skates amid rubble and dust. You don’t know whether to be moved or angry.
You do not know whether to ask with hope or light a new flame.
In Turkey, we go to the camp to check on the activities of the school tent, to test learning, to meet the families we support on a large scale, to deliver aid, to meet Fatima who makes jewellery made from beads by her and her friends. We take what they made and leave what they earned, thanks to our supporters who responded to our appeal and bought them all.
The day is warm and we treat ourselves to a very short visit to the sea, only five minutes away by car. And we remember when, a few years ago, we took many children for a swim.
We have a ten-year history with the camp residents and it is beginning to be full of memories, adventures and pieces of life, of growing up.
We return home. Always a little richer, always a little different.