The mobile clinics are essentially vans that doctors and other medical personnel drive around from camp to camp assessing and treating those that need attention. By no means is this ideal, but many people can’t leave their shelters to be treated. 

I met an elderly woman who lived with her daughter. They invited me into their tent for tea. The woman had lost one of her sons in the war and her other two sons were in prison, one in Lebanon and the other in Syria. Again, when people say that their family or friends are in a Syrian jail, they are basically saying that they hope that they are still alive in prison. This woman was basically bed ridden. She could sit up, but needed help in order to go to the bathroom or to move from the bed at all. This meant that her daughter had to help her. The woman spoke briefly about her sons, but it was the plight of her daughter having to take care of the older women that saddened her most.

Over the next couple days, I met mostly with families who were living in official URDA shelters, some for as long as five years. They told me about their lives in Syria before the war. I heard unimaginable stories about loved ones being lost. Women sharing with me about their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons being killed or imprisoned. I heard about the bomb shelters that many people dug in their backyards and underneath their houses in order to try and avoid collapsing buildings during an airstrike. I heard how many of these shelters became mass graves when chemical weapons were used and the gas seeped underneath the ground.

I really had to control my emotions listening to these people tell me what they had been through, as well as what they continue to go through.