Scenes from Homs in 2007
What's going on in Homs at the moment is truly heart-breaking. When I was passing through in 2007 I remember having one of the most hospitable experiences of my entire trip in Syria. I'd arrived with a friend at the bus station, having traveled by coach from Damascus, and we were unsure what we'd find in the city having not arranged any accommodation or travel once there. But we were met by a guy in the station who immediately sparked up a conversation. Now often when traveling in more touristy places I would be wary of any such encounter but it was clear that this guy was not out sell us anything, or make any money out of us, he just wanted to welcome us into his city, and was excited to be able to practice English. We shared a taxi with him into town and he took us into his house, wanting us to meet his wife who was an English teacher and show off his young daughter who was barely walking at that stage. The hospitality and enthusiasm we received was so touching when I thought of how somebody from Syria would likely be treated on arrival in my own home town. There'd be no comparison. And yet here we were two strangers that he let into his house and introduced to his family. My thoughts go out to them now, I hope with all my heart that they are safe.