Lessons From Abroad


Al Faiha’a Mosque courtyard where my interaction with the Syrian refugee happened Irbid, Jordan

Today I was approached by a Syrian Refugee from Daraa.

“Salam, I heard you are from America. Would you mind helping me with my situation as I have just gotten an interview to come to America? I was asked where I would like to be relocated, but I have no idea.”

Excited to hear such great news, I answered all his questions about different regions across america and I described regions I thought would fit him best. He later asked me about the culture in America as it will be a very different lifestyle for him.

As I answered his questions he was surprised from some of my answers, so I then asked him “Are you sure you want to move form Irbid, Jordan to America?”

He then looked at me and replied “I have nothing to lose, you see in Daraa we were going to die any second so we left. In Irbid I am dying slowly.”

Why, I asked

“Well I am not allowed to work or drive. If I find work it’s going to be a slummy job in which I must hide it from the government. Not just that, I would get payed way less than a Jordanian. People here treat me like trash and want to get rid of me. I do not receive enough money (from UNHCR) to spend on my family (9 total) or even pay the rent. The food stamps I am given only work at certain stores where they hike up prices because they know we can not go anywhere else. In the end this is not life, but another form of death, a slow death.”

When he told me this it really hit me hard. People, the Syrian refugees are not leaving because they feel like it. They are not risking their lives going across borders because they think they might have a better life. They are trying to change their situation immediately because nothing can be worse than their current situation. In the end this is unacceptable.

This man is an educated man. He has a bachelors in chemistry and had his own pharmacy in Daraa. What does he have now? Nothing. This is the result of the war that has displaced over 4.6 million refugees.

Mohannad Safadi
Illinois Institute of Technology
College of Science


Mohannad was born and raised in Chicago to Syrian immigrants. He is currently persuing a degree in biology with a minor in psychology at Illinois Institute of Technolgy. He hopes to graduate and start medical school, as he persues his goal of becoming a physician. After becoming a physician Mohannad hopes to become a humanitarian worker by providing free medical care to the underserved. He has slowly started this process as he has worked with multiple NGO’s around the globe. This includes Syrian American Medical Society in Jordan with the Syrian refugees and Medical, Education, and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere in Ecuador.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s