The vast, beige landscape of a refugee camp in Jordan leaves a lot to the imagination.
It must be easy to pepper the vision with things you remember from home. Plants, wildlife, a proper house. Your husband arriving home from work and your two beautiful sons playing in the garden.
But what about when your memories from home are of war and destruction and pain? What do you imagine when you already lost the life you had, that perfect family life? When the war took that away?
One day your beloved husband is killed by a bomb.
Your world crumbles, but you do everything you can to hold yourself together for your children, your two sons. You can’t comprehend that he is gone, but you want to tell your children that it will be alright.
A few days pass. You try to keep to routine, get the children ready for school. You’re lucky that it’s still open. You wave them off in the morning, and focus on getting through the day.
But your boys don’t come home that day. Your two beautiful sons, killed on their way back from school.
Your whole life shatters.
Imagine painting that vast, sandy, blank canvas of desert with memories of fear, of the end of your world.
Amena doesn’t need to imagine what that is like. She felt the pain, the heartbreak. She lost her entire family in the space of a week.
Now she lives in a refugee camp in Jordan, and she is completely alone. She passes her days knitting and crocheting with donated wool. She gave me the most beautiful scarf.
Through all of the pain of Amena’s story, the unimaginable loss she has suffered, I was surprised at what broke my heart the most…
As I tried on the scarf that she gave me, she smiled at me and stroked my cheek lovingly, like only a mother can.
Thank you to the wonderful Esme Mull for the beautiful portrait. You can find out more about Esme and her current work to document the Refugee Crisis in Turkey here.