Behind every hug is a world

When it’s been so long since you hugged a loved one and then finally you find her in front of you and you can hug her again, the emotion is very strong, wherever you are on this round earth.
"Would you accompany me to visit Mariam? I would love to see her so much... but I don’t dare go alone, I’m too afraid of what might happen. But if you were there, it would be different…".
Sometimes we as volunteers are bitterly surprised that, in a place already so full of pain, relationships can become even more complicated and conflicting, as if the external conditions were not enough to make life hard.
Randa has been stuck in the same refugee camp for eight years.
She is Syrian from Bab Amer, a suburban and overpopulated neighborhood of Homs.

Randa looks after three children, the oldest one has been paralyzed due to a meningitis, while the fourth daughter drowned in a manhole of the refugee camp a few years ago.
I would say her husband is staying afloat rather than he is living. Next to Randa there is her mother, a quite old lady who is the only rock to which she can lean on during her days. But before it was not like this: despite the climate of distrust and jealousy that reigns over the camp, Randa managed to make friends with Mariam and her husband. They were a great support for her as if they were part of the same family. Mariam took care of Randa’s sick son when his mother was away and they spent most of the day together, back and forth from each other’s tents. In the camp there had never been a nice atmosphere, many abuses occur and the people here feel particularly oppressed. So after the umpteenth injustice perpetrated by the owners of the refugee camp’s land, Mariam and her husband decided to leave, they could not stand it anymore. They found a place in a small henhouse designated as a dwelling and they moved. Randa wanted to follow them as well and decided to move to a garage too, but after a few days the threats turned out to be too strong. She was scared and she could not afford expenses so high compared to the smaller ones of a tent.
She decided to move back to the tent she had left a few days before, but Mariam’s husband did not take it well. He felt betrayed and sorry that Randa could not think of her good. He did not understand her reasons and he chose to stop talking to her, forcing his family to do the same.
This silence has been going on for almost a whole year. In the meantime, we as volunteers have maintained a good relationship with Mariam’s family, which has become deeper than before. We have kept on meeting Randa too as often as we have always done in these years. And then the request: Ramadan is over, a month of purification, and Randa wants to try to go to visit Mariam, she misses her so much. We send a message to Mariam’s husband, the reply takes a while but... it is a yes!
"You know I don’t talk to her anymore... but since it is you who are asking me, I say Welcome to our home". Ahmad, Mariam’s youngest son, welcomes us by giving a bouquet of flowers to Randa and the friend who accompanied her.
And here the hug is. Randa timidly enters their house and, holding Mariam, they both burst into tears, silently. We spend the next two hours to see how the tension slowly dissolves: Mariam sits next to Randa and we see they finally resume to talk to each other in a thick and whispered way.
On the way home, I ask Randa how she is doing. "Two days ago I sprained my foot to the point that it got swollen, I spent these days of feast in the tent but this morning I was so happy that the pain is gone. And now I’m very glad. Thank you for coming with me, it wouldn’t have been the same if I went there alone". She hides Ahmad’s flowers in her bag, she will show them later to her children.