I struggled with the assignment to write about the work of providing for refugees in winter in Syria. What could I say that hadn't already be said, about the dismal wet and cold (plus new COVID-19 uncertainty) and the heroic efforts of those tirelessly working to improve the situation? I reached out directly to the Mercy Corps team in Syria. Knowing their time is precious, I asked them to just tell me: what does it feel like, taste like, smell like, sound like — to be there, right now? One Syrian team member, whose identity cannot be shared due to security risks, described their experience to me. Their words captured the paradox of hope and despair embedded in their work — despite English not being their first language, I wanted to change these words as little as possible. Combined with recent photographs, I think it is a kind of poem about the nature of being human.
All photos credit to Mercy Corps