One family's mind-bending journey to survive war is captured in candid email exchanges between a Santa Cruzan and a Syrian woman. A GT exclusive.
The last time Santa Cruz’s June Magnaldi visited Syria in 2011, she sat comfortably with her friends sipping tea on the balcony of their second-floor apartment, overlooking a small city street of Homs, the third-largest city in the country. Nearby, a tall green cypress tree reached toward the sky above the neighborhood of Christians and Muslims. June exchanged stories with Suha, a university graduate of literary studies who had become a teacher and whose family ties to Syria go back 1,000 years. The two friends recalled the time they had met 10 years before at Mar Musa Monastery, deep in the silent Syrian desert. June had ventured there to visit, “this beautiful monastery above the desert, open to all faiths and nationalities.” Suha told GT that Mar Musa is “heaven on Earth” and she had gone there “to be away from the city’s moral and actual pollution. I spent three days there and most of the time was with June.”