Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Refugee Girl

I've wanted to say something about Syria, but I'm just not sure what one says to such horror.

But I thought this piece I wrote up this week would be a bit more appropriate than angry, political tweets. 'Cause those rarely turn out well.

Just thinking of the one million Syrian children in refugee camps today, and how no amount of politics will ever give them back their childhood.

refugee girl 
mama says we’re almost there.
but where is there?
she says that everyday.
i think she thinks i believe her.
we left our home a million days ago.
from the amount we’ve walked i feel as though we should’ve circled the earth by now -
and simply arrived back home.

but i know we haven’t been all around the world.
because we haven’t seen the eiffel tower yet.
or the great wall of china,
nor the american white house.
papa used to tell me about those things.
he used to say that one day he’d take me there,
and i’d always fall asleep dreaming about a trip to france with my papa.
that was before he went to fight.

dear soldiers, why do you fight?
why do you kill each other,
hurt each other,
hate each other?
maybe if you stopped, i could go home.

i’ll tell you a secret -
i don’t really want to go to that camp my mama talks about.
i want to go home.
but i tell her it’s ok, whatever she wants.
i don’t tell her how hungry i am, either.
because i don’t want her to be sad.
she looks sad.
she looks scared.

maybe she’s scared that i’ll die, like my friend mary.
mary and her mama were walking with us before.
but then mary got very sick, a few days ago.
she died, and that’s when mary’s mama stopped walking with us.
the night before she left, i heard my mama trying to tell her to stay.
she thought i was asleep, but i wasn’t.
i heard her talk about scary things.
she said words like torture and massacre.
but mary’s mama still left.

sometimes, at night, i wonder where my papa is.
i block out the sounds of the fighting and i try to remember his face.
i hope he’s not in trouble.
i used to ask my mama about him,
but she got very upset.
so i stopped asking.

before he left, he told me he was going fight, and it was a good thing.
a good thing for this country, he said.
i know - maybe he’s gone to stop the fighting.
then we can go to france.

Say a prayer today for a child living in a refugee camp, and offer some thanks for the safety and security we all too often take for granted.


  1. Beautiful, Alyssa! :) It is so sad, and I think you did great portraying the innocence and love of a child.

    1. thanks, lizzie.

      i thought so many people are talking about politics, that we're forgetting the total sadness and tragedy of the whole thing. sometimes it's just a good reminder to look at things through a child's eyes - way more simple. :)


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