Living in One of the World’s Scariest Neighborhoods

no picture أصوات من سوريا
Member since November 27, 2016
  • 84 Posts
  • Age 22

© UNICEF/UNI162756/Ali
A chair sits in the center of a desolate street in a conflict-ridden city in Syria.

© UNICEF/UNI162756/Ali A chair sits in the center of a desolate street in a conflict-ridden city in Syria.

This blog post is written by a 21 year old, living in a conflict-ridden city in Syria

There isn’t a day that passes in my life and in my neighbourhood that I don’t hear war melodies like shooting guns, explosions, shelling and bombing.

Our best days are described as the ones with no such sounds, though we know we will eventually hear them. And maybe, one time we won’t be able to hear them anymore, as we will be gone.

My mother tells me not to fear the explosions or the sound of bullets, because the ones that will kill me will not be heard. This is how I manage to face my fears.

I write this blog post with my fingers shivering just remembering how my life used to be.

Nowadays I usually wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning every single day. I have to wake up earlier than everyone my age because I have to go to university and attend my classes on time. The trip out of the area I live in to the university usually takes about 4-5 hours on good days. On other days I can’t even get out of the neighborhood as it gets besieged or by getting out I might risk my life.

On my way to the university, I study whenever I get a chance to. I like to study on the way because there is daylight. We rarely get to see electricity after the sunset.

At university I charge all the devices that need to be electrically recharged. I attend my courses and spend some time studying between the classes.

Before going back home, I buy some groceries and fetch water for home. I always try to hide them in my bag and in my pockets – I fear they get stolen on the way. I am the one responsible for my family after my father’s death. My two younger sisters and my mother cannot leave the house because they are too scared to do so.

This trip – back and forth – is a nightmare for me. It is a scary trip every single day.

Every aspect of life has become very difficult in the past couple of years. Getting bread on the table is hard, getting electricity and water is hard, but most importantly, the essential sensation of feeling safe is never there anymore. Fear runs my and my family’s life.

Anyways, after reaching my neighborhood, and finishing my family tasks, I do some volunteering, like doing photography and collecting stories for NGOs. Ever since I participated in the ‘Learn and practice photography workshop’ I feel that my skills are improving with practice.

Being a volunteer with one of UNICEF’s NGO partners gives me so much hope in life. It makes me feel like there is plenty that I am capable of doing. I have a mission in life, and I need to fulfill it.

My father has passed away suddenly, and I wasn’t prepared to take all the responsibilities at the age of 20. I felt that I turned from being a kid into a responsible man, unexpectedly. The thought of not being able to bear the responsibility scares me a lot. I also fear failure. War will never be an excuse for failure. My father taught me that where there is a definite will there is a way. But sometimes I fear death or injuries, as I live in a very dangerous and a life-threatening neighborhood.

I always fear losing another family member in war.

Moving out of the neighborhood has been our dream since my father passed away. It was impossible for us due to the costs and the dangers we would be facing on the way out. Our house got hit several times and was damaged more than once, but somehow we managed to survive. Recently our house got hit massively and we had no other choice but to move out.

Luckily, a family friend offered to share their house for a short while with us until we find another one to live in.

This blog post is a translation - the original text in Arabic can be found here.

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