A box of Winston cigarettes, a yellow plastic bag, tape, a lemon, a laser pointer, bandages, dates, a government booklet, documents for his family, sunscreen, painkillers, changes of clothes and a lifejacket.

A migrant boy walks on a railway track after he crossed the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, Hungary. Credit: Bernadett Szabo/ Reuters

Photojournalist Sima Diab recently looked inside Abu Jana’s bag, as well as the bags of three other Syrian refugees on the journey across the Mediterranean from Egypt to Europe.

Spend just four minutes to listen here.  


 It’s not about cramming stuff into your carry on. It’s about what it takes to survive.


More than half of the country’s population of 22 million has been forced to leave their homes.

In Arabic we say that the worst situations actually make you smile… so I’m smiling,” Qassem said in the tent with no electricity or heat that was their new home. “But at least we left the prospect of death in Syria. So if you escape death of course you’re happy. We know we have a difficult life ahead, but we escaped death.


Many of them have moved multiple times since the conflict began in March 2011. Increasing numbers of refugees are attempting to reach Europe.

 Children rest on the ground at Piraeus harbour in Greece. Photograph: Michael Debets/Pacific/Barcroft
Children rest on the ground at Piraeus harbour in Greece. Photograph: Michael Debets/Pacific/Barcroft

About half of those displaced are children. It’s too late to help Aylan, but we can help other children like him.

Who is doing the important work?
 Read this from PRI.
Help bring relief and joy.
Each one. Do just one thing. Find contacts and resources in your state here.


Toni 9/8/15




2 thoughts on “THE THINGS THEY CARRY

  1. Toni, we need to keep talking and pressing the message. Thank you for this. My husband has a brother and nieces and nephews living through the devastation in Syria. Our hearts ache every day for them and for the countless others who are so tragically displaced. There are ways each and every one of us can help. I’m happy to share your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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