Ma’moun Mersal, a Palestine refugee from Syria, managed to flee the conflict-ridden country three years ago. He travelled to Lebanon with his three kids, his wife and his mother. “We left Syria because of war, destruction, hunger and besiegement,” explains Ma’moun. “We escaped to Lebanon to search for a safe haven, but we face a lot of hardship here.”
Ma’moun’s home, located in the Beqaa valley in eastern Lebanon, is a small two-storey building that he and his family share with another family. Sitting on the floor of his living room – which is also where all five family members sleep at night – Ma’moun talks about the difficulties he faces.
Back in Syria, the young father used to work as a painter and had his own small workshop, but ever since he was displaced, he has been unemployed. “There is no work for me here, especially since Palestine refugees in Lebanon are barred from several professions, which makes it even more difficult for me to find a job,” Ma’moun explains. “There is very little assistance for us – UNRWA is our sole provider,” he adds, while pouring tea for his youngest son, who sits beside him.
When asked about his future, Ma’moun’s voice hardens. “Currently, we only thinking about the present. I am unable to think about my kids’ futures because I’m afraid about what is happening today.”
Although Ma’moun finds it difficult to picture his future, he does have one very strong desire. “I wish to go back to Syria, to our houses, and see our families, friends and neighbours. What I miss most about my country is my family, my siblings, my home, my street, sitting in front of the house… Hopefully one day we will be able to return.”