Children Don’t Dream Anymore

The children don't dream anymore, Benjamin Gow

He is a tailor, the head of the family we ate with last Sunday night. In Syria he was a locally respected, skilled man who made shirts, repaired trousers, and sewed dresses to put a roof over his family’s head and food on the table, and clothe them too of course. He also educated all four of his children. Until his home in Aleppo was bombed.

His family had to flee to a village in Syria, ten miles away from the Turkish border. There they had to sell their car and their wedding ring just to live. In July last year, Turkey started bombing them, to stop advances by The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) encouraging separatist sentiments amongst Kurds in Turkey they claimed.

The only choice our host had was to flee the Turkish bombs to safety in Turkey.

Here in Izmir he got a job and brought his family over seven months ago. He lost that job last week. The same week we came along and asked if they needed help.

Last night we not only broke bread together and shared the most incredible meal, we celebrated because he has found a new job, in a leather shoe factory.

They made us a feast to thank us, for being there when it was needed. That’s what they kept saying, thank you. There was so much food, I have heard of Middle Eastern hospitality and this must be what it looks like. I had to remind myself I wasn’t at a lavish function, this wasn’t a catered event, we were on the floor in someone’s home and a banquet was spread out before us. I have no idea what we ate but all of it was really delicious. The family kept saying over and over again, “when we go back, we hope you’ll visit us.”

They don’t want to come to Europe, they want to go home. Although they don’t know if any of it is still there.

We asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up, and they went quiet for a moment.

Then it was translated that, “they have stopped dreaming.”

One of the girls wanted to be a dancer, once. I don’t know what happened there in that quiet moment but I really want to help make that happen.

I can’t help feeling it is essential to keep children dreaming, or there will be no dancers in the future.

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