Abu has been in Ajlun, Jordan, with his family for three months. He lives in this apartment with his son-in-law, his son, and their families. His grandson was born two months ago in the border area between Jordan and Syria. His parents named him Abdullah after King Abdullah of Jordan in thanks: "because here we feel secure".
Abu says: "We came illegally over the border, there were 50 people in our group, including many children. We came close to the border in taxi, then we walked the last three kilometres. When we reached the fence the army helped us. They said ‘you were lucky’ – if we had tried that just three minutes before, we might have died. Also, the night before the people many people had died trying to cross."
"It was hard to live a normal life"
Abu was a painter back in Syria, and he would like to do the same job in Jordan. He has four children, two boys and two girls, all teenagers. The family decided to leave after the two boys disappeared. Abu says: "For three days, we did not know anything. When they came back, we decided – let’s go.
"Homs is like a ghost town now. Only three per cent of the population are left. We noticed that everyone was leaving. It was hard on a daily basis even to do normal things – going out to get food, you don’t know if you will come back. It was hard to live a normal life. We were very scared all the time. We had no appetite for eating. The neighbours would bring food to each other to help each other out.
"Our landlord is very helpful, he is sympathetic to the Syrian people. The rent here is reasonable, and he has bought things for us to help furnish the home. He brought mattresses, furniture, and mats. We have not been able to pay the rent for two months now. We are lucky, he is supportive, and we are grateful to him – he is a poor man himself.
"What is the hardest thing? Just being away from home. We are grateful we have made it here, but we still think about other people back at home. We are always scared of bad news coming to us – my wife heard a whole family of her relatives were killed. Sometimes there is no mobile phone coverage, so we cannot get news of our relatives. Life here is a blessing, compared with back home"
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