Our Life in Sweden

Jonathan & Sofia Morgan

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We’re on the Move

We’re going to be finishing Arabic school in a few months, and this means that we’re getting ready for what’s next.

For a while we thought we would probably stay in the Levant (this part of the Middle East) for the foreseeable future. But as you’ve probably noticed, things change quickly in this neck of the woods.

What we didn’t foresee when we started school was that so many from this region would be forced to make their way to our neck of the woods – Europe.

In fact, since we moved here, Sofia’s home country, Sweden, has received more refugees per capita than any other European nation.

Refugees with stories just like Malaka:

As we’ve weighed up our options, we’ve kept coming back to the fact that we actually might be of more use in Sweden, where we are residents, know the system and can help with the process of integration than we could if we stayed.

So in June, we’re moving back to Sweden.

10% of Annual Rainfall in 45 Minutes

Downtown Amman during flood

The weather has cooled down significantly in Amman this past week. It feels like it’s suddenly gone from Summer to Winter in the space of just a few days.

Yesterday it started raining heavily. So heavily in fact that the city received almost 10% of it’s annual rainfall in just 45 minutes.

The ground is very dry, and largely concrete and tarmac, so flash flooding ensued.

4 people died in the flooding, including two children who were trapped in their basement apartment.

Here’s one of the rescues that took place:

Links: The Refugee Crisis

We thought we’d follow up on our last post on the refugee crisis and what we can do about it by highlighting some thought provoking articles and projects…

  • First off, this excellent video giving an overview of the crisis:
  • We Should All Be Competing To Take In Refugees, by Daniel Altman. We don’t think the hospitality we offer refugees should be conditional on it making good business sense, but since there’s been a lot of negativity in the media about refugees causing economic strain, we thought we’d share this. It talks about the economic benefit of welcoming refugees.
  • Queen Rania Calls For Unity On Refugees. A great interview with Jordan’s Queen about the reasons we can’t expect Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to be the only ones caring for refugees.
  • The True Samaritans, by Steffen Huck. Another post about the hospitality that Jordan is offering to refugees right now, despite being in the midst of a water crisis.
  • The Icelandic government initially offered to house 50 refugees. Thankfully their population responded by offering space in 11,000 of their homes. Read about it here.
  • Hans Rosling is a very entertaining Swedish statistician who is trying to get the world, and the media in particular, to take statistics seriously. Here’s his short video about the distribution of Syrian refugees:
    If you like this, you should check out his TED Talk: How Not To Be Ignorant About The World
  • Speer’s daughter and the Syrian refugees, by Abby d’Arcy. The story of one lady, the daughter of Hitler’s architect, who has taken two refugees into her home. She talks about what a joy it is to have them stay with her.
  • Germany’s Refugees Welcome has been dubbed “Airbnb for Refugees”. People can offer a room in their house or apartment to a refugee, and the project will assist them with finding funding towards their rent. The concept is spreading to other countries in Europe too!

Do you have links you think we should know about? Add a comment below!

What is Eid Al-Adha?

Today Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid Al-Adha. The festival centres around the story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son. 

In the story, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience, to show that he is truly submitted to God. Abraham begins preparing the sacrifice, but just before he goes ahead with it, God stops him. Instead of sacrificing his son, God provides a lamb for him to sacrifice. 

Early in the morning on the first day of Eid Al-Adha, after prayers, families sacrifice a sheep to God. One third of the meat is given to family members, one third to the poor, and one third to the person doing the slaughtering. For the rest of the day, and the next three days, people visit family members and friends. 

Tonight we have the privilege of celebrating with some friends who have invited us over for Syrian food.

To all our Muslim friends, Happy Eid!

كل عام وانتم بئلف خير

The Day We Woke Up

Yesterday Europe woke up to the reality of what’s happening in our waters.

The sight of a little boy washed up on Turkish shores, captured our attention in a way that a million high detail articles never could.

It was a moment even the most right wing newspapers sobered up from their racist stupors and saw the international refugee crisis for what it is.

People.

It’s little boys and little girls and mums and dads, grannies and grandpas, forced to leave homes and jobs and schools and friends and the entire sense of security they’ve always known.

And they don’t know what’s ahead of them.

Someone offers them the opportunity to leave the dusty refugee camps, to take their kids somewhere that has decent schools and job prospects, and they take it.

“It has to be better than this,” they think.


The Syrian refugee families we know all have friends or family members who are considering this perilous journey.

We tell them about the news articles, the risks, the many people who drown and never make it.

They say, “we know it’s dangerous, but what other option do they have?”

How do you answer that question?

After a while the idea of getting in a boat that stands some chance of getting to somewhere that just might be better than here starts to sound good.

“Sweden is beautiful. I’ve heard it’s the most beautiful place in the world. Almost as nice as Syria used to be.” 

“I hear the people are so friendly in Britain. I have an uncle there.” 

“I want Ahmed to be able to go to a good school, and to have a future.”

The mythology around the countries in Europe builds. People without hope look for every shred that they can find. For many, Europe or America, Canada or Australia seem like the closest chance.

For many, right now, these countries really are the closest chance at a future that’s safe and far away from their crumbling homes.


Our governments and NGOs can’t manage this immense task by themselves. They need us as ordinary citizens to get involved.

So, What can I do today?

We thought we would compile a list of ways that we can take action. It’s not exhaustive, but it should get you started…

World Wide

Anyone can make a donation to the UNHCR, or smaller organisations like Hope & Trust, who work with assisting refugees in the resettlement process.

At the moment the UNHCR budget is running so low that many of the refugee families we’ve met outside of the camps have had their food budgets cut.

For those of us who pray, the 24-7 Prayer network have organised a week of prayer. You can sign up for a 1 hour time slot on their website.

In the UK

Before today’s good news that Britain will be receiving ‘thousands’ more refugees, we were going to ask you to sign a petition. Instead we’ll look at some more practical ways that you can be involved with these amazing people.

Get in touch with UK based organisations like Bridges for Communities, who work at building understanding between people of different cultures.

Check out this extensive set of links on the Independent Online.

IN SWEDEN

This list gives some good suggestions of  NGOs that help refugees and have a connection to Sweden.

Among them are Medicines Sans Frontiers who do sea rescue missions, as well as working in the ports, where the refugees arrive first. you can donate here.


Please feel free to contact us if you want to discuss this more.

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