Notes From the Field

Angelina Jolie Pitt meets Syria's lost children

If Hala was an 11-year-old American girl, the video she made with Angelina Jolie Pitt would probably be the high point of her life.

But Hala’s fondest memory is of her mother’s bedtime stories.

Hala is Syrian, and she lost her mother, her home, and her childhood in one terrible moment when a bomb hit her house. Hala was outside, playing in the courtyard.

Afraid that his children would also be killed, Hala’s father sent them all to Lebanon. Now Hala, her younger sister, and her brothers are living in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in a tent settlement, still together, but just hanging on. They are still hoping for news of their father, but their hopes grow dimmer every day.

Hala has become the “mother” of the family. She prepares the food, cleans, and attends to her oldest brother, 18, injured by the bomb that took their mother. He now has seizures, and Hala runs for the medicine when she sees the first symptoms. She has become very good at recognizing them.

Hala is not in school … she gets little rest … and she could use more food. In spite of all that, she is brave and resolute … determined to care for her family as best she can. They have no money, so USA for UNHCR´s donors assistance from generous people like you, is the only thing keeping them together and keeping them alive.

But she still has high hopes. And she still has her dreams. And in her dreams, her mother tells her stories and kisses her goodnight, and she is …