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'No, we are not friends here.'

Five years ago I lived with my wife Wadha and eight children in the countryside of the Hamah district. A number of my family members were taxi drivers and I picked up milk from the farmers with my car to take to the milk factory. When I look back on it now, yes, I can say that I was happy then.


But slowly the situation changed. 

We heard about the revolt in Daraa and the demolition of the statue of former president Hafez al-Assad. And after that there were the first disturbances in Homs. The electricity kept going out more often and food became very expensive. Before bread would cost only half a dollar but soon that became 10 dollars. We could not afford that.

When Assad’s troops had surrounded our area I really began to get worried about how I would be able to take care of my children’s future. Later on when the shooting started the choice was no longer a difficult one. Along with our children we left for Lebanon and ended up here in this tent city. That was no coincidence, as many other fellow countrymen had come here before to work in this region. Everyone knew one another here.

My wife, my children and I are all registered as being refugees. Being registered means that the UNHCR gives each person 19 dollars a month to live on. We find this to be far too little because what am I to do with 19 dollars when one of us has to go to the hospital? Besides that we have to pay 200 dollars rent per year for the ground on which our tent stands and another 40 dollars a month for electricity and water. Our children go to the UNICEF school here in the camp.




We gave our Facebook-friends the opportunity to be part of our conversations by posting questions. Satouf answers the question of Jacqueline: What do you miss most?


It's not an easy life. Lebanese here in the neighbourhood say that we are taking their jobs, and that we will work for half of the price. Recently a young, Lebanese soldier screamed at us and called us animals. He was 20 and I'm 51. No, we are not friends here. 

If I could return to Syria tomorrow then I would do that. I want Syria to go back to what it was before. I hate politics. No war, no problems. That is how I think.