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Day 14

How do you judge a kids behavior if all they’ve grown up with is violence? 

Today it was an easy breezy day for me teaching the sweet girls while rest of my team took two buses full of little kids to take the Lebanese school system exam by unicef. Well I didn’t expect to see my crew as shocked and traumatized after as I did. They didn’t expect to experience what they experienced. Due to different little errors, once they got there, they had to wait before let into the building. During that break a hell broke loose - kids throwing rocks and bricks, jumping out of bus windows, fighting,fighting, fighting, our male volunteer got punched in the face, another teacher got bit.. wild. But what to expect if these kids grow up in war, when looking for refuge, they are placed to neighborhoods that’s streets are filled with guns, drugs, dirt and violence. How does one punish a child if they haven’t even been given a chance? There’s only  so much we, the volunteers and teachers, can do.. though growing up I saw some of this environment as the kids here, I was given a possibility to experience love, care and kindness as well.. when I started writing this post now, I felt quite helpless but thinking back to my upbringing I just realized that it only takes one person to make a child see a lighter world. Every child deserves a fair chance. But war has made animals and the kids are born into wilderness. With every inch of my body, with all my soul I ask the sun to shine to the children, the wind to breeze like a gentle stroke on their cheek, for the trees and flowers to bring a scent of hope, the kitties playing around to bring joy to their faces,people to show them love, kindness and respect. Though human doing is why these children have to experience this struggle, thanks to the people I work with I haven’t lost hope in our kind and haven’t let bitterness take over. 


20th feb

I think the more I get used to the life here the less I know to write. 

I spend my days teaching English and preparing for classes. 

Oh, how I love all my students. Some classes I give are as basic as pronouncing “how are you” and asking “what is your name?” which response is “what is your name” and then I say “no what is your name” and then they say “what is your name”.. but my groups are very eager to learn and I love seeing them learn.

Today we walked through the Shatila refugee camps again. Men with guns sitting around, little tiny beautiful angelic kids smoking cigarettes.. like seriously 5 year olds.. there was this very old lady who passed me with her walking stick. The thought that she has had to grow old in this place, saddens me deeply, that she hasn’t seen the world becoming a better place. I hope the little kids running and playing around will get out of there! Someone even shouted “take me with you” to us. 

I wrote to my grandmother about the life here and she told me she couldn’t even fall asleep that night and tears up every time reading my letter again. She is a person who has lived through many wars which is why she also has empathy to the situation here. One of the many wise responses she had “seems like human kind hasn’t still developed as far to know what is freedom” 

The air in Shatila made me feel physically sick - headache, dizziness. I’ll attach some images below 


Feb 13, 2017, 6.36am aka day 11

So there was the weekend. I learned a lot of new things about the refugees my organization works with and also about the area I’m living at.  I feel like I couldn’t completely get into detail about all that. Not only because of the fragility of the stories but also cause I’m watching it from the side, hearing stories that are just stories, I don’t question the legitimacy of the stories but I don’t believe you would understand them without putting people in boxes. There is violence, there is abuse, poverty, yet there are the girls and women I teach, the volunteers I live with and the people running the organization. 



When I walk into the center in the morning and see my colleagues , my eyes don’t look at them with sorrow as you would think, but my eyes see so much kindness and love. That’s why I probably feel so comfortable and easy here as I was craving to be surrounded by this for so long. It’s also that people deal with actual problems here and don’t complain and whine about the comfort of their lives that they don’t know how to appreciate. 

Then I walk into my classroom full of young girls who’s eyes remind me of mine. They are quiet, they listen, most of them eagerly want to learn. I started with my project which was a bit tricky as it got very personal right in the beginning but the things the girls wrote and drew.. there was a sentence “I wish I would be a butterfly so I could fly back to Syria” and a picture of one head with two faces, one was happy and one was crying- the girl drew herself from the outside and inside. I prepared long and throughly for my project but I wasn’t actually prepared for that. I was speechless multiple times that day, tried to figure out how to respond to them and only way I came up with was thanking them for showing me this. 

In the evenings I sit in the living room with my flatmates, one is lying on the couch reading a book, one behind a table on her laptop, other two showing each other photos of their travels. What my eyes really see when looking at them  is stars and flowers, i hear the sound of the sea, the view to them brings peace and calmness into my heart. Great humans together for a mutual purpose to help others. And we laugh so much together. So much! 

Day 13. 

Yesterday was a day off, went to the movies with the whole crew, had a great meal at our favorite restaurant Em Nazih. Today though continued with my project. It was a new group so tried a new approach. I feel like when i started on saturday with the other groups we were afraid to really acknowledge the fact that they have seen war and gone through hell so asking these personal questions didn’t get too many girls answering. Today I opened up to them. I told them of how I grew up. It took shit ton of courage to stand in front of the classroom and talk about it. There’s a difference in telling the Story of my upbringing to telling about the emotions felt due to the story. I usually don’t care to talk about the first but i rarely talk about the thoughts and emotions experienced. I felt thats a more honest approach to my project as why should they open up if i don’t. And it worked. It broke my heart and brought tears in my soul but I am beyond humbled and thankful they did open up to me. The loss they have experienced is far off our understanding. You read these stories and its a story, you look them in the eyes and it becomes .. I’m not finding the word to describe it.. Its real, its no longer a story. I don’t think of their hardships when teaching them, which is good, but i do feel closer to the girls than before. Some things written ‘’ War tried to take away my dreams but it didn’t know it made me stronger’’, ‘’The mother earth is bleeding’’ .. I’ll attach photos of the drawing below. So much loss. 

If you, who you’re reading this could help the situation of others in any way, or want to write of what SB Overseas is doing, get in touch! [email protected] or http://sboverseas.org/ 

And any donation here is highly appreciated https://www.gofundme.com/anrikevolunteerlebanon

Feb 13, 2017, 6.36am aka day 11

So there was the weekend. I learned a lot of new things about the refugees my organization works with and also about the area I’m living at.  I feel like I couldn’t completely get into detail about all that. Not only because of the fragility of the stories but also cause I’m watching it from the side, hearing stories that are just stories, I don’t question the legitimacy of the stories but I don’t believe you would understand them without putting people in boxes. There is violence, there is abuse, poverty, yet there are the girls and women I teach, the volunteers I live with and the people running the organization. 



When I walk into the center in the morning and see my colleagues , my eyes don’t look at them with sorrow and pity but my eyes see so much kindness and love. That’s why I probably feel so comfortable and easy here as I was craving to be sounded by this for so long. It’s also that people deal with actual problems here and don’t complain and whine about the comfort of their life that they don’t know how to appreciate. 

Then I walk into my classroom full of young girls who’s eyes remind me of mine. They are quiet, they listen, most of them eagerly want to learn. I started with my project which was a bit tricky as it got very personal right in the beginning but the things the girls wrote and drew.. there was a sentence “I wish I would be a butterfly so I could fly back to Syria” and a picture of one head with two faces, one was happy and one was crying- the girl drew herself from the outside and inside. I prepared long and throughly for my project but I wasn’t actually prepared for that. I was speechless multiple times that day, tried to figure out how to respond to them and only way I came up with was thanking them for showing me this. 

In the evenings I sit in the living room with my flatmates, one is lying on the couch reading a book, one behind a table on her laptop, other two showing each other photos of their travels. What my eyes really see when looking at them  is stars and flowers, i hear the sound of the sea, the view to them brings peace and calmness into my heart. Great humans together for a mutual purpose to help others. And we laugh so much together. So much! 

Day 13. 

Yesterday was a day off, went to the movies with the whole crew, had a great meal at our favorite restaurant Em Nazih. Today though continued with my project. It was a new group so tried a new approach. I feel like when i started on saturday with the other groups we were afraid to really acknowledge the fact that they have seen war and gone through hell so asking these personal questions didn’t get too many girls answering. Today I opened up to them. I told them of how I grew up. It took shit ton of courage to stand in front of the classroom and talk about it. There’s a difference in telling the Story of my upbringing to telling about the emotions felt due to the story. I usually don’t care to talk about the first but i rarely talk about the thoughts and emotions experienced. I felt thats a more honest approach to my project as why should they open up if i don’t. And it worked. It broke my heart and brought tears in my soul but I am beyond humbled and thankful they did open up to me. The loss they have experienced is far off our understanding. You read these stories and its a story, you look them in the eyes and it becomes .. I’m not finding the word to describe it.. Its real, its no longer a story. I don’t think of their hardships when teaching them, which is good, but i do feel closer to the girls than before. Some things written ‘’ War tried to take away my dreams but it didn’t know it made me stronger’’, ‘’The mother earth is bleeding’’ .. I’ll attach photos of the drawing below. So much loss. 

If you, who you’re reading this could help the situation of others in any way, or want to write of what SB Overseas is doing, get in touch! [email protected] or http://sboverseas.org/ 

And any donation here is highly appreciated https://www.gofundme.com/anrikevolunteerlebanon



Day 5. Long day. Good day. Been concentrated more on how to teach and what to teach. Starting with my project tomorrow. Everyday trying to come up with new ideas to potentially benefit the refugee families. SB Overseas is doing such an amazing job. Everyone I’m working with is so kind and great.. what else to expect from such selfless people. 

I feel happy with what I’m doing, though once I get home when so exhausted i do feel a need for a hug.

Day 7. 1 week of being in Lebanon. We had a day off today as it’s a holiday. Spent the day discovering Beirut which is gorgeous. It’s crazy seeing all this wealth here, people wearing full Chanel etc while next to them is such poverty. 

Had dinner at our presidents house which was very nice. Got to bond more with some of the people who work in the organization. One of a kind humans. They have signed up for not having a day off or any rest whatsoever to improve the lives of others. They work relentlessly.  I get it. Once you really get to know the people and see the conditions, nothing else can be remotely as important and fulfilling than bettering the lives of the people who have lost all. I admire the people working for SB Overseas wholeheartedly. Also the organization is only taking 7% of the investments/donations for management costs while other NGO’s take about 60%-80%. Can easily imagine that after my two months here, spending a month in Barcelona and maybe some time in Estonia, enjoying all the warm showers, electricity and never ending internet, i could come back here. 


Day 8 

Had first aid course today. Did you know in Syria they put coffee on bloody wounds.. don’t do that! :D 
Stories I heard last night of the camps, the families, the struggles, the abuse, the terror, keep haunting me, filling me with sorrow and anger. It has made me ill. I try to accept what is right now and each time it comes in my mind, I think of my own upbringing to have more hopeful thoughts that in 30 years there will be biographies of these famous/successful/happy people who were refugee kids from Syria when growing up. Though the conditions were different for me when growing up, I still do see myself in many of the . They are shy, quiet yet looking into their eyes is like reading a book. They might not know yet but through all the hardships, they’ve gained so many powers. I hope I’ll be able to give them at least a glimpse of it. 

I bought a ton of materials for my project today. Can’t wait to see what comes out of it. 

I am working hard to put every skill I have into use, each limb,finger, toe. I wish you would see what I see, feel what I feel, so you would do your best to help the ones who have lost all to get back on their feet. I wish you would  appreciate the luxuries you have and be grateful and humbled. I wish you would love without judgement, expectations. I wish that fear wouldn’t overcome kindness. I don’t know how I can step back to your world.. I mean you gotta lure me in with my grandmas food. Ohh my grandmas food.. I miss my family.

Please, please, please https://www.gofundme.com/anrikevolunteerlebanon I am thankful for any donation no matter the size of the amount. My respect and love for each one of you who has donated. I know who you are! 

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