Guided by the Sound: Anecdotes from the Field

Humanitarian workers face challenging situations in their work and often have heart-warming stories to share. we talked with Ammar, one of our infrastructure and water, sanitation, and hygiene officers with Medair in Syria. Ammar shared a story from his experience in the field.

“My first project with Medair was rehabilitation of a water station. Once we were done with the station, it was time to test it. The moment I saw the water pump working, pure joy rushed into my heart. I went under the running water faucet because I was so happy to see the fruit of our work. I realised how life-changing our role is”, Ammar explained.

“There was a 1000 cubic meter water tank, which provided water for about 13 villages. It was last filled with water was about 9 years ago and not repaired because the area was previously unsafe.

After repairing the water line connected to the tank, it was time to check if the water would reach it. I assigned a team member along the line to inform me if the water reached the area.

At the first try, we waited for hours, but nothing happened. Water did not reach any team member. Though frustrated, we did not lose hope.

We went back the next day to try again after working on the waterline. We started the process again. It takes about three hours for the water to reach the tank. There were monitoring team members along the track, same as last time. That day, water reached the first point, then the second and third point. They heard the water underground; the water reached three points and had only one more to go.

Three hours passed, but the water did not reach the last point. I sat down with the site engineer. Convinced the project was unsuccessful, we felt discouraged.

There was a boy in that area, Daniel, who was blind. Daniel walked towards us and said, “I can hear the water coming from afar.” But we heard nothing. Suddenly, we realised Daniel was right. The water was flowing and had reached the last point. Nothing can compare to how we felt! To know that you reached your goal, people will finally drink water. We were glad we didn’t lose hope and remained focused on our goal: safe and clean drinking water reaching thousands of people.”

We asked Ammar what motivates him to do his work as a humanitarian worker.

“We set our eyes on one primary goal: the impact of our projects. That’s what motivates us to do the best job possible. Thousands of lives depend on us.” Ammar said.

“We always choose projects that change the situation from nothing to something. That’s how emergency response works. We make sure thirsty people have water to drink, repair sewage systems and homes to protect families. We distribute household essentials, especially in areas with a high percentage of returnees and internally displaced peoples, to ease their daily trouble and lessen the financial burden of buying everything and rebuilding from scratch.” Ammar told us.

“We entered areas where medical care was not available. Once we repair and equip a primary health care centre, it saves families the trouble of travelling to another city to seek medical attention.”

We asked Ammar what keeps him passionate about being a humanitarian aid worker, and this is what he shared with us.

“I would be lying if I said it’s an easy job. It’s complicated from start to finish. We go through a very long process to get a project implemented. Sometimes staying hopeful becomes a challenge. However, when someone tells me, for example, that they had no water at all, and now they’re drinking water, all my trouble fades away. My frustration turns into happiness and joy. That’s why my job as a humanitarian aid worker matter.”


In Syria, Medair’s work is made possible by the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, UNOCHA, Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation (SDC), Swiss Solidarity, SlovakAid and generous private donors like you.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.