What's Changed In The Refugee Resettlement Hub Of Lancaster
Farhan Al Qadri was doing well for himself, running a warehousing business that took him three decades to build. It kept him on the road and away from his wife and children at times. But it also afforded them a 20-room house with a courtyard in the middle, and plenty of land — including a small farm — just outside the Syrian village of Daraa.
Did he consider himself wealthy?
"It was very excellent," he says, nodding. "But now, I have zero."
Farhan says his savings, his car and his wife Muna's jewelry all went toward paying for the family to live in Jordan after they fled their native Syria.
"We were not expecting to leave, we did not want to leave, not to Jordan, not to any other country. We really did not want to leave. But one day in August of 2012 around 70 or 80 mortars exploded near our houses, in our village," he says. "The children were scared and my wife decided to take them across the border to Jordan."
No furniture, no photos — none of their possessions made it here with them. Farhan worries about making ends meet, with his job cleaning machines for $10.50 an hour at Espenshade Farms.
The family's rowhouse on Prince Street in downtown Lancaster, afforded them through resettlement agency Church World Service, has three bedrooms and just one bathroom for the family of six, and the paint's peeling.
But there's a sign above the bathroom door that says, "Live simply, Live well."
In some ways, that's the story of how refugees are resettled. And Lancaster knows it, many times over.