Just got back from Jordan with a group that joined SCM for a tour of the country and also for distribution to the Syrian refugees. This is the first time that we have done a combined trip and it turned out really very well!
We visited our Trauma center (Happiness Again/Malki Center) one morning and then another day we visited with a Syrian artist that had lived in Zaateri camp but has recently moved out to downtown Amman to help Syrian children. He teaches them drawing in a way to express themselves about the new life they are leading and how they left Syria and the trauma they are going through.
On Friday we went to two different camps to the south of Amman – an area called Luban – that are not helped by any other NGO. While there we distributed items of clothing, scarves, hats and gloves, baby items, diapers, walkers, wheelchairs, hygiene kits etc. The people at the camp were so happy to see Americans coming in and handing out the items and talking to them and just letting them know that they have not been forgotten, even though this refugee crisis is going on into the eighth year. The group members talked to individual refugees through translators and found that in the one village many of the Syrians were from the same area of Hama and wanted to be with people they knew.
The people we talked to had been in this particular camp for five years. They had moved from Zaateri after being there for one year and some only for a couple of weeks. They did not feel safe in Zaateri with its tens of thousands of people. They also knew that spies from the Syrian government were coming in and checking to see who was talking about the Assad regime and then going back to Syria and checking their families and what they were doing. A lot of people felt more comfortable, and safer with their kids in smaller encampments of about 50 to 100 families from the same region in Syria. We talked to one lady that was 60 years old that had come with her family of 25 people, walking for 5 days with only the clothes on their backs. She wants to go back and die in her homeland, but it is not the time. They had 13 people living in one tent. We saw kids that had cerebral palsy and other conditions going without medical treatment – and adults, too. We did meet men and women that needed walkers and wheelchairs that we were able to supply to them.
During this trip I went to the warehouse of the Jordan Hashemite Charities that works with us in getting our containers into the country through customs and inspections. They told me that SCM is the second largest distributor in Jordan. I was truly shocked by this. I know that we send out a lot of containers – last year we got in 13 containers in the year, these are 40 ft. I really thought that we were way down on the list since the big NGO like Mercy Corp, IRC, Islamic Relief and others have more of a budget then we do, but no we were it. It is because of all our donors that continue making this happen, and I wanted to let you know that if it wasn’t for you none of this would be possible. We have an incredible group of followers that lets us help people in need.
We are doing another trip in October like this one that just ended, seeing the cultural and historical sites of Jordan and also doing distributions to the refugees. Please check our Caravan-Serai Tours website for more information about the trip. I hope you will be able to join us. It is an eye-opening experience and if you want to talk to anyone that has been on a trip let us know and we can refer you to other clients.
Thank you for all your trust in us and for helping make this a better world. We do this one individual at a time.