-by a CAM staff member

Around 1.8 million Syrian refugees are living in Turkey, more than in any other country in the region. Our recent visit to Turkey illustrated how important small things can be to people who have lost so much.

We found approximately 5,000 people living in informal tent camps. Refugees have congregated here and found materials to pitch makeshift tents. Ropes, crooked wooden poles, tarps, and pieces of cloth formed these forlorn tent camps.

As soon as we arrived with a supply truck of food parcels, people began pouring out of tents and down dusty streets from other nearby camps. The amount of parcels we brought seemed a pittance among the crowd that gathered. Many faces were desperate as they begged for help.

One man came to us carrying a young child, perhaps one and a half years old. The little one lay listlessly in his arms, the child’s skin shriveled and his body malnourished. Another mother came with her twin daughters who were under a year old. She needed milk to feed her babies.

Others came hungry for love. Dusty children with tousled hair, tattered clothes, and large luminous eyes watched us curiously. Many of them were happy to pose for a photo, smiles lighting up some faces while others remained sad and downcast. One little girl came up to me, chattering earnestly in Arabic. From her motions I gathered she was begging for shoes for her bare feet. She soon understood that I couldn’t respond in her language. But I smiled at her and gently touched her hair. She quickly warmed up and clung to my hand for the rest of our time at the camp. I’m so thankful that the language of love is a universal one.

Leaving that place was very difficult. We could see so many needs and yet there was so little we were able to do to help. Thank you, donors, for making it possible for us to help some of these desperate refugees with the basic needs of life.