Marhabaan alsaeadat alsufara'!
Humor for Hope is officially back on US soil and home from the Syrian border.
So much has happened that we can't even begin to describe to you what we are feeling or what's coming up mentally, physically and emotionally. One thing we do know is we are so incredibly grateful for this experience and also so thankful for be home.
It has become painfully clear that this experience has changed us in many ways and that it will take some time for us to work through. All we ask for during this time is your patience, love and understanding as we begin to piece ourselves back together so that we can begin to share incredible stories of heartbreaking resiliency that we witnessed amongst the Syrian kiddos in an uplifting, inspiring and empowering way.
That said, our team feels a little timid and anxious about re entry and we are navigating it to the best of our ability. Often times when someone experiences prolonged trauma or witnesses or endures an intensely traumatic situation, the brain and body respond in funny ways.
For example, it is not uncommon for the lower brain processes responsible for instinct and emotion to override the cortex so that it cannot properly stop reactions or focus your attention. Blood flow to the communication area shuts down too, meaning one can have less ability or even temporarily lose the ability for things like communication, language and memory.
Trauma has a way of making seemingly simple things like writing, have a conversation or even updating social media hard.
Often times the first instinct when faced with this type of thing is to isolate or become withdrawn, but we don't want to do that with you all. We want to stay present and share with you all of the magic that we encountered and how it altered and affected us. We also want to show you where your money went, who it helped and how your generosity and selflessness impacted an entire community of incredibly gracious, wildly amazing people on the other side of the world.
Lastly, we want to begin sharing and implementing innovative approaches that we have come up with that can all use to step up and help immigrants, refugees and those that are oppressed on a much larger scale moving forward.
We are sharing this because it's important and trauma is tricky. There are various kinds of trauma. Not to mention if you're empathic, deeply intuitive or a sensitive person at all, it's easy to become consumed by secondary or vicarious trauma too when working in those types of settings or with suffering populations. It's also in large what the trip was about and one of our jobs is and was to help educate, so we are honoring that.
Humor for Hope's trip abroad was incredibly life changing and inspiring, but it was also extremely hard and very traumatic. Every person and every child we worked with was amazing and has also been marked by war and displacement and has been touched by complex trauma in some way. Additionally, our own teams personal safety was jeopardized as we were taken in the middle of the night and detained in a Turkish jail. These things combined with working in an active war zone, having all communication devices taken and monitored, not knowing the language, being told repeatedly that it wasn't safe for us and also being interrogated, humiliated and held multiple times by our own government upon return, means that we are all carrying and sorting through a bit of our own trauma now that we have finally returned home.
It is important to remember though, that everything we encountered or experienced is nothing compared to what these children and their families have experienced every single day for the past 6+years.
Despite all of this, we want you all to know how much our staff and the children we worked with absolutely needed and relished the power and magic of laughter.
We also want you to know how much this trip and the Karam House has inspired us, what it means to us and how overwhelmingly thankful and humbled we truly are for the opportunity to embark on it. None of this would have been possible without you and your support.
So for now as we gather ourselves and begin to reintegrate, thank you for your support, for being you and for helping to inspire goodness and create positive change.
We can't wait to continue to share and to add goodness to the world together with you.
This is just the beginning.
Together, we rise.
Photo cred: Karam Foundation