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My Syrian Diary: Part 30

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, shares her stories of life in the war. She recently moved to Damascus to continue her education, deciding to focus her college studies on prosthetics. She hopes to help heal the injured in her country’s conflict.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Sometimes, little things can have a big influence on our lives. My sister’s engagement brought a smile to our faces and color to our lives. But because her engagement party will cost a significant amount of money, I have to cut my vacation time short and go back to work. Our working hours have changed in the month of Ramadan, so we now work from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. My mother did not like me working so late. She insisted I take some time off after what happened to me.

One night the electricity cut off while I was on my way back home. The streets were so dark that I had to use my phone’s flashlight in order to see my way. A man came out of nowhere and grabbed me. I was not sure whether he wanted to steal my purse or do something else. Fortunately, I had the strength to scream, fight back and run home. When I told my mother what had happened, she was frightened for me and said that I had to take the rest of the month off, until our working hours return to normal.

I don’t blame her. The security situation is very bad and the streets are not safe anymore. Sometimes, I blame it on the lack of electricity, because honestly I had not felt unsafe before this incident. During the month of Ramadan, the streets are usually busy until midnight – especially now, because Eid al-Fitr (the holiday festival of breaking the fast) is coming soon and people are out late at night shopping in preparation for the festivities. It is the time to buy new clothes, sweets and presents. The streets are busy, the shops are open late and people are out living their lives normally – but everybody is alert. We are not accustomed to normal life any more. Everybody is worried that something bad will happen soon.

I love my work, but education is my top priority. It is what will help me find my place in this world. I took some of my exams last week. They all went well and I am hoping that the ones coming up will go well, too. My grades in lab classes are much better than my grades in theoretical classes, but I am not worried, because lab work is more important in my field.

I can’t wait to graduate and finally work in the field I love. I feel I will be very creative and successful. I’m sure you sense how optimistic I am today. I can’t explain it. It feels like I am on a boat that keeps oscillating between happiness and sadness, between light and darkness, without any reason. One day, I feel that I have everything I could dream of – a great family, lovely friends, a job and education. Another day, I feel that all of this doesn’t matter, and that I am deprived of my most basic rights. I was looking out of the window today and I thought that life was like a speeding car. People run as fast as they can, as if they are racing time. I realized that I should go faster and work harder or I will be left behind.

P.S. Maybe it is because of Ramadan that I am feeling hopeful and optimistic.

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