You are at home, maybe playing outside or cooking dinner when the house shake and the walls burst into dust as an explosion rocks the neighbourhood. Grabbing any bodies you can, you run for shelter hoping the attack stops after the first explosion.
When the dust settles, you stand up and brush debris from your clothes. Standing in the rubble of your home, you take a moment to locate loved ones. Then you begin picking your belongings from the rubble. What will fit? Should you take that photo album or is it too heavy? What will you need for kids? You can’t stay here. The violence is too much, it is time to flee.
A friend offers to drive you as far as the next town if you can be ready when they pass through. You shove your bags and family into their small car and climb in as the car starts down the road. More explosions and pockets of gunfire force you to stay low in the car as it passes through town. Buildings are not even recognizable, all that is left is piles of broken bricks.
People are everywhere. Crowds hauling suitcases and children line the border as people just like you cram toward the immigration lines. After a couple hours you finally are directed to an area to wait. Your kids are hungry but you forgot to grab food so you tell them there is nothing to eat right now. A truck rolls up and the back pops open as a man steps out and tells you to get in.
The truck sputters to a stop and you peek through the window at your new home. White tents flutter in the wind and dust swirls from under your shoes as your step onto the hot ground. There are so many tents you can hardly see the horizon. Just people. Well, refugees. Isn’t that what you are called now? Refugee.
You find out there is a school for your kids and you will have access to a water truck. You smile as your children look at you and back at the tent. You encourage them to go find other children to play with while you unpack. Once inside you sit down and finally let the tears fall. You wonder how long you will stay here and if you will ever return to your home. For now, the camp is home, but maybe the fighting will stop and your old life will return. Maybe.