Friday, February 20, 2009

"Every person in Iraq was always happy - even when things were rough - because we belonged there; it was our country" - Feb 18 09

We brought food assistance to Abu and Um Abdullah, Abu Abdullah's elderly mother, and the couple's two sons - Abdullah (age 12) and Omar (age 9). The family chatted with us, sitting on their sofa under an Iraqi flag.

Omar was home but Abdullah was out playing football with his friends. Abu Abdullah showed us his photo.

The family fled Baghdad to Jordan in 2005 after a notice was pasted on their door, warning them that, if they did not leave, one of their sons would be abducted. Abu Abdullah says, "In Iraq now, there are gangs and thugs everywhere."

Young Omar is traumatized by all the carnage and violence that he witnessed in Iraq. His father tells us that sometimes, out of the blue, Omar breaks down and starts sobbing uncontrollably.

Like most Iraqi families, this family has endured deaths of loved ones. Maha whispers an aside to me in English: "Abu Abdullah's brother was recently killed by militia but his mother does not know so they cannot speak about it in front of her" Another brother died of a heart attack when militia entered his home and were shooting.

Abu Abdullah told us that their life was much better in Iraq before the war forced them to leave. He owned a bakery. They were happy...

"Every person in Iraq was always happy - even when things were rough - because we belonged there - it was our country"

Abu Abdullah has had 3 surgeries on his knee and needs another. He cannot stand for any length of time so he cannot even work illegally. His mother has diabetes. They are luckier than some others we meet on this day; their medications and surgeries are being paid for by an aid organization.

Their rent 70JD and they pay another 20 JD for utilities. They show us where the ceiling in the kitchen begun to fall in during the heavy rains of last week. They have informed the landlord but he has not repaired it. They said that when they tell him about repairs that need to be done, he promises they will be fixed but they never are. However, he has been kind to them when they have fallen behind in paying their rent.

Abu Abdullah tells us, "If I were to say our life is good, I would be lying. But, al-hamdelelah! (Thanks be to God!)"

**We delivered food assistance to two other families on this day (in addition to the families below)**