MAFRAQ, Jordan — Residents call it the “Champs Elysees,” the main street where refugees do their groceries, drink coffee and cut their hair. However, it does not look like the luxurious street in the French capital at all. Everything in the Zaatari refugee camp is makeshift for Syrians seeking sanctuary in Jordan. Old tents and pieces of steel are being used for making small stores, and people mostly sell secondhand electronic devices such as refrigerators and cell phones. They even built a store for bridal gowns, as weddings take place in Zaatari every day. And there are more than 10 medical clinics.
Although the camp is starting to look more like a town every day, living standards are not good at all. In front of her trailer, a few minutes’ walk from the “boulevard,” Merwa carries a small baby in her arms. She said she is 30 years old, but she looks 40. Every one of the 112,229 Syrians in the camp has a tale about the war in Syria — of hopes and dreams destroyed and the hardships of living here. Merwa is not any different from the other refugees, although her worries about the displacement are mostly related to her newborn baby.