Have you ever shared your bathroom with 50 people?

Posted by Suzanne Rodrigues Editorial Assistant in Oxfam's Digital Communications Team

23rd May 2013

A few days ago, a colleague sent over a link to a blog post written by Farah, our engineer working in Za'atari camp, Jordan. The camp is now 'home' to 120,000 Syrian refugees. In her blog entry, she describes her reaction to overhearing a conversation in which a journalist remarked, "I can't understand why refugees are mad, they have everything the need, yet, they keep asking for more". Here's an excerpt from Farah's blog.


"Behind the angry faces, there is a mother who lost her child...a wife who lost her husband."

"Her words brought tears to my eyes and my mumbling turned into a loud voice, 'do you know the minimum humanitarian standards for a camp? Do you know the minimum amount of water they should have? Do you know how  many people per latrine there are in the camp? Have you ever shared your bathroom with 50 people? Would that make you angry? Have you ever waited for more than 40 minutes to get water to drink? I'm sure the answer is no.'

"She started to say 'but…' and I told her there is no but! Behind the angry faces, there is a mother who lost her child, there is a sister who lost four of her siblings, and there is a wife who lost her husband.

"I took a deep breath, drank the last of my cold coffee and left.  I don't know why I got so upset when she talked about the refugees in the camp, but I couldn't help but wonder if I altered her thoughts about the camp and the people. After four months of working amongst the Syrian refugees in Za'atari, I have realized that the camp is real, the stories are real, and the tragedy I see every single day is real."

Read more

You can read Farah's full blog post on the Voice|Middle East website. Voice is a project that focuses on giving Syrian refugees the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words and express their needs, concerns, and aspirations. 


Blog post written by Suzanne Rodrigues

Editorial Assistant in Oxfam's Digital Communications Team

More by Suzanne Rodrigues