Our posts on the blog will most likely be fewer and far between for the next couple of weeks due to unpredictable internet service. In particular, it can be hard to upload photos, so I may stick to writing short updates with fewer photos for the time being.
We are now in the town of Reyhanli, near Turkey’s border with Syria. According to another group working with Syrian refugees in the area, the official population of Reyhanli has doubled from 30,000 in June of this year to over 60,000 now, due to the arrival of refugees from Syria. Who knows what the actual figures are, but it’s clear that the small city has experienced a huge population shift in a very short time.
We were incredibly lucky to connect with one of Ferdi’s Syrian friends in Reyhanli: Mohamad. In addition to doing IT & graphic design work, Mohamad is a volunteer teacher at a local school for Syrian children. Thanks to Mohamad and the lovely staff at his school, we were able to hold our very first art session in Reyhanli on Sunday. Mohamad’s friend Tamaldour, who teaches & provides psychological support to the school, ran the art session for us. We’re hoping to hold a few additional sessions at their school this week, and perhaps venture to another school or two in the area.
All of my photographs from the day are on film, so you’ll have to wait to see those. But David’s work is digital, so I’ll upload one of his photos from the day. I’m including just one photo for now, since uploading can take so long.
This is a photo that David made of Mohamad. It illustrates the lighting techniques David also used in photographing the children.
We also documented the drawings that the children did. Here is one from the session:
The drawing depicts a helicopter dropping a bomb on the child’s hometown in Syria. The stories the children tell are awful, and it’s hard to listen to them. But it feels important to bear witness at the same time.
We’ll post more soon, as our internet allows.