Hundreds of refugees from Syria making the long walk to safety in Jordan, one long jagged line stretching out into the open desert.
They carried teapots and tiny gas canisters, shopping bags filled with clothes and overstuffed bundles of blankets balanced on their heads. Many held jerry cans, once full with water, now dangling empty.
Their destination, like so many thousands before them, is the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The numbers are staggering: Syrian refugees are now estimated to make up 10% of Jordan’s population.
The population demographics in Zaatari are skewed towards women and children but also a surprising number of elderly residents. Consider these statistics: More than half (54%) of the camp’s residents are under the age of 17. 42% of families in the camp are led by a female head of household. 3% are more than 60-years old.
Nothing can take away from the pain and loss of being a refugee. But everyone we met had a remarkable story of resilience and determination. Zaatari is a remarkable place because its residents are building a strong community out of what little they have. They build homes, invest in businesses, plant vegetable gardens and paint works of art. But every single Syrian refugee I spoke to said the same thing: if the war stopped today, I would be home tomorrow.