Za’atari camp, Jordan: an enormous expanse of white gravel. Tents, containers.
Kitchens, latrines, schools, tiny field hospitals, distribution centres dispensing food and clothes.
Abdul’s family was the first that reached the camp back in August. 30.000 refugees live there today. Stuck in this limbo, many of them nurse the urge of going back to fight the regime.
White dust covers your clothes; the intensity of the sun reflecting on the desert blinds you: soon you’re left strangled by the heat. Two constant noises: the incessant hammering on the tents iron poles pushed to the ground, and the humming of the engines of the Jordanian military airplanes taking of from a nearby base, on their daily routines. As they take off hundreds of noses point to the sky looking for the planes. Faces filled with terror and desperation, hearts skipping a bit. The days here are just passing: the monotony marked by the call for the prayers of the muezzin.
Slow rituals, ablutions before the prayers, a bit of food.
The refugees tend to their shelters, stroll of the dirt roads or on the only stretch of asphalt where hundreds of trucks passing make them look back, at once. They meet friends, coffee and tea is served. And they smoke cigarettes, hundreds of them: the constant thought of what they’ve lost. They wait for the evening. Welcoming me, they trusted me with their stories.
I sit at their side, waiting with them for the evening to come.