80 families: 2 bathrooms

I visited Ayn El Hilwe today, one of Lebanon’s most violent and densely populated Palestinian refugee camps.

The tens of thousands that live in the camp are now joined by thousands more Palestinian refugees that have poured over the border in recent months. An estimated 3,000 families from Syria are now housed in Ayn El Hilwe and the newest arrivals have been put up in ramshackle tents in a dirt parking lot.

I was told around 80 families live on the lot, sharing two bathrooms–male and female–with around four toilets each (see photo). The toilets reek and there are no showers.

All of the stories I heard were heart breaking and I will share them soon. But when I got home and took a shower, I felt a sense of guilt and unease. First because I was “cleansing” myself from the filth that is their everyday life and second because I suddenly felt so spoiled to have access to a shower, let alone a private one.

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