Friday, February 27, 2009

Food Assistance to Ni'imet and her extended family - Feb 26 09

Next on our stops to deliver food assistance was the home of Ne'imet and her two young boys: Hisan, 6 years old and 6 month old Ibrahim.

Ni'imet had been married but was divorced late last year. She had been working whenever she could, cleaning houses but she had to stop because of the baby. She could not make it on her own so she moved in with her elderly mother, Himdya, her mother's husband, Rasid, and Ne'imet's brother, Abbas.

Ne'imet left Iraq in 1997 with Abbas when he went AWOL from the Iraqi army. Things were tough in Iraq because of sanctions and she hoped to have a better life outside of Iraq. She married the boys' father in Jordan.

Her mother followed Ne'imet and Abbas to Jordan in 1998 because of the hardships under sanctions. She planned to return but says now, "I've lost all hope of ever returning." She suffers from depression. Her hands are covered with intricate tatooed symbols. When I asked her about the tatoos, she said they are potent in staving off illnesses.

Her husband stayed behind, not wanting to leave Iraq. He was a musical instrument maker there. His eyes lit up as he told us that he made ouds, guitars and tabla drums.

Rasid stuck it out until 2004 when Shia militia took over their home and turned it into a religious center after threatening him many times. He moved to another area of Baghdad for a while but all of his relatives were gone and he joined Hemdya in Amman.

Abbas had worked gathering metals to sell to recyclers but he stopped because of the risk of being caught working illegally. Now he says he is responsible for his elderly parents and sister. He spends a lot of time going to different aid organizations and trying to find help for them.