When we stopped in front of Bushra and Assad's building, three of their young sons ran out and wrestled the heavy box of food out of the trunk and up the stairs to their flat. We enter their flat into a long dark hallway and a peek at the peeling paint on the walls gives me the assumption that the sitting room we are quickly directed to will be as grim. I was surprised instead to enter a room with the atmosphere of a carnival!
Bushra has created works of art from found objects and appliance parts that normally would be tossed in the trash heap. Suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier is a cascading piece made of old fan grills, aluminum foil, and artificial flowers - among other things! Under it, on the table, another piece towers up to almost meet the one above, a foil tower of Babel with plastic limes dangling as a fringe at one of its layers edges! My attention was so drawn to these incredible pieces that at first it was impossible for me to notice the scruffed walls and worn carpet. Bushra tells us, "Ever since I was a young girl, I liked to make things"
They came to Amman nine years ago. Bushra tells us that they came because "There were money problems because of the Embargo." Then she adds, "Now we are in the same situation here that we were in while in Iraq."
Her husband, Assad, used to work in a garage but he was fired five months ago. They began receiving a monthly grant from UNHCR 7 months ago so they can pay their rent and utlities but things are very tight.
Bushra has health problems: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritus and anemia.
There are five children in the family: Hassan - age 14, Sundus - 13 who we did not get to meet because she was still at school when we were visiting, Ibrahim - age 11, Abdallzez - 8, and Falal - 6.
The children all attend school and are doing well despite Hassan and Ibrahim missing a year of school while Jordan was not allowing Iraqi children to attend public schools.
Bushra makes a bright center for her struggling family in spite of the challenges they face.