The consequences of the war in Syria have affected families in terms of some customs, traditions and lifestyles, in addition to the roles of family life. According to the United Nations Population Fund – Regional Office for Arab States – wars disintegrate the structure of the family and harm each individual unevenly. The greatest burden is borne by children, who have lost emotional security.
The same is true of men, women and the elderly, who have witnessed a forced change in their behaviour and habits due to the deteriorating economic and living situation in Syria.
In the city of Lattakia, Abu Maad used to go out with his comrades always to play backgammon or cards or even to spend time away from their families, but today he spends his time at home alone and rarely goes out or meets any of his comrades.
“We used to meet in a café near my house, me and my friends and some neighbours, but today I rejoice if we exchange greetings when we come across each other in the street,” he told Syria TV.
Abu Maad asserts that the problem is not heartfelt, and he still has friendliness and respect for his friends. That sentiment is believed to be mutual, but the difficult economic situation has made social relations today affected and regressed.
“When a guest comes to me, I feel ashamed because my house is empty of coffee sometimes, and I can’t serve the guests like before,” he explains.
Syrians share a loaf of bread
The poor living situation has made Syrians invent new ways and means to entertain themselves and try to break the routine of a difficult life.
This is what Um Badih, a sixty-year-old woman who retired from her job years ago and used to have fun with her neighbours or make home visits, has done. Since the Syrians began the policy of austerity, her visits to her friends have begun to ease until the link between them has almost severed.
Um Badih began to feel lonely, especially since she lived with her husband only while her children lived in their own homes. This prompted her to invent new solutions, so she suggested to her friends to revive home visits among themselves but in a different way; instead of having one of them pay all the hosting costs, they share the payment, and each one brings something from her home or they share the payment.
Um Badih’s fear of loneliness and memory loss prompted her to invent these solutions. In her opinion, maintaining contact with her neighbours and friends will help them to constantly operate their minds and protect them from the psychological problems of aging.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.