While the snow in Jordan means a bit of fun for those of us living in houses, it means misery for others.
People are often surprised to hear that it snows in the Middle East. Isn’t it the land of hot sunny deserts? Well yes, it is in the summer, but as I am currently discovering, the winters here are extremely cold and it not only snows in Amman but sometimes there's even blizzards.
Without proper heating in our apartment, we have spent the last few days huddled in the kitchen, baking cakes to keep warm, and watching movies on our couch that we squeezed in from the lounge room. It's difficult to go outside, I can’t seem to keep my socks dry when I do, and our pipes froze up yesterday, meaning there was no water to even brush our teeth.
But for us, despite these small concerns, the snow has mostly brought fun, with snow fights, snowmen and late night strolls to marvel at our transformed neighbourhood with its white-dusted palms. Yet throughout these days I can’t help thinking how the people living in refugee camps here in Jordan and other parts of the Middle East are coping.
There have already been accounts of children in the camps dying from the weather. As cold as it may be for me, I don’t live in a tent. I have a means of keeping warm and as much food as I need. Those who have fled their homes due to the conflict in Syria are not so fortunate.
While I was out taking the below photos in my neighbourhood I saw a lonely, shivering cat following me. As I lowered myself to pat her she jumped into my lap. The cats in Amman are rarely this friendly, but the cold had made her desperate. We’ve given her a place to stay for the night, but how many people are out there with nowhere warm to go? And how many more winters will there be with refugees suffering in tents while they wait to return to Syria?
The snow in my neighbourhood in Amman: