what you might not expect from a refugee 

Just getting home after a round trip to Romania. A lot of hours in the car but so worth it to visit a family that is very dear to us. They are in transition after months of waiting at the Greek border. It was so amazing to sit and talk and see their sweet kids.  We left them, with the thought ringing in our minds, ‘How could anyone look at this family and say, “we don’t want them in our country – they pose a threat.”‘ 

We are tired, but here are some observations to make you think with us:

1.  After knowing them for almost a year, I have never once actually sat in a real home with them, but I have always been offered hospitality. I have had coffee in their tent on the Greek border, we have had coffee in a Greek coffee shop, and this visit, we were in a common room of a facility where they and around 100 other refugees are being housed. Even here, they brought us drinks and served us.

2. Their sweet children: 6, 5, and 5 months have never known a world without war. The civil war in Syria was already happening when they were born. They fled Aleppo when the bombs fell on their house with them inside. 

3.  Their dad refused to fight with the army, so the other side came to recruit him. The family left Syria before they came back to take him as a fighter.

4.  Their baby was born in Greece and, since Syria is in disarray, she has a Refugee passport. Imagine that for a moment – in a world where your passport is a statement of your integral identity, she begins her life identified without a homeland and as part of a community called ‘refugee’.

5. They are in temporary refugee housing, and the kids got the room ready for us, their guests, but then the family was not allowed to bring guests into their home. Their home for 5 is 1 room with a small corner kitchen and a bathroom. We were also discouraged from taking photos by the guard.

Our hope is that some of the observations challenge the narrative often heard from the media and politicians. We left this morning with a Facebook post reverberating in our minds. Someone had written about how letting refugees into their country posed a threat to their family. Imagine how that sounds or looks beside this family that has courageously traveled this far just so their children can have a life characterized by peace. It is our belief that if you are lucky enough to have a Syrian family as your neighbor, you should feel very blessed. Amazing people! Amazing culture!

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