Hind Abbas, a communication assistant with CARE in Yemen, shares her experience living through one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
New years are often new beginnings. A new chance to live differently, change what we don’t like and learn from past experiences.
The smell of chocolate fudge cake and coffee in the holiday season brings precious memories to my heart. I remember on New Year’s Eve I used to go out with my best friends. We went to the stationery shop and bought the prettiest notebooks we could find. Then we went to our favourite coffee shop, ordered coffee and a warm piece of chocolate fudge cake that we used to share. After that we sat there for hours, writing a long list of plans and wishes for the year in our new pretty notebooks.
Today, the war in Yemen has been raging for almost three years, and my friends, like thousands of others, have fled Yemen. They left their families in search of a better life – or simply for survival.
Walking in the streets three years ago was very different to what it is like now. The damaged and destroyed buildings and shops break my heart. Sometimes I wish this was just a nightmare that will disappear once I open my eyes. But unfortunately, it’s the reality. People are so tired – physically and emotionally. They have spent hundreds of hours hiding in basements during airstrikes. They have been waiting in long lines for water.
Over the past year, the situation has been deteriorating day after day. The closure of the ports has caused severe damage to the already dire economic situation, leaving eight million people on the brink of famine. Yet the Yemeni people remain generous, even if they barely have one meal a day. When I visited some of the villages worst affected, people who barely had bread and milk welcomed us with an open heart to have lunch with them.
What do people in Yemen wish for 2018?
They wish to sleep without worrying about their future. They wish to live a peaceful life without fear. They wish to have electricity and clean water. They wish that their children could go to school. They wish to walk the streets without being afraid of an airstrike or sudden clashes. They simply wish to be able to dream again.
I will not share coffee and chocolate fudge cake with my friends this year. I will not be able to buy a new, beautiful notebook and enjoy my best friend’s company. But I do know exactly what I wish for. I wish to see a smile on people’s faces again, and I wish that the world would stand with the people of Yemen and look at them with the eyes of humanity.
CARE’s team in Yemen needs your support now more than ever. Read more about the work they are doing to support families in Yemen and donate here.