Friday, February 20, 2009

"Our life was amazing before the war. Now we are always in pain..." Feb 18 09

Bushra welcomes us into her flat with a broad smile. Her only child, Mustafa (age 8) has to be coaxed out to receive the crayons and drawing tablet we brought him. Despite his shyness, he agrees to color a quilt square for me to bring back to the US and settles down on the carpet between us and his mother to color it. Bushra tells us that when he sees airplanes in the sky here he tells her, "Mama, look! Airplanes just like in the war!" She tells us "He is very nervous."

Bushra tells us that they left Iraq in 2003. Her husband had been a civilian employee with the Iraqi army. In the early de-Baathification era instituted under Bremer soon after the invasion, he was attacked and severely beaten. The family moved in with Bushra's sister for the month it took for him to recover well enough to travel out of Iraq.

She tells us, "Our life was amazing before the war! We were happy. Now we are always in pain, always worrying. Our health deteriorates because of our uncertain status. All we can do is think, think, think!"

Bushra has a thyroid condition. Her medications cost about 30JD per month. A large aid organization was paying for her prescription but no longer provide this assistance to her.

Bushra wants a Micro-Project. She has 10 years experience as a beauty operator and had 1 year of formal salon training when she lived in Iraq. She has been cutting hair for her friends and neighborsfor a few JD per cut. Bushra wants help getting a hood type hair dryer, a table for her supplies with attached mirror, and a swivel chair. She says she will get more customers if she can make a corner of her living room look like "a real salon". The cost for all of these items is about $500. We regretfully tell her that at this time we have had to suspend granting Micr0-Projects until we begin to receive more money from donations.

For now, we give Bushra a "salon bag" containing many beauty supplies that was donated to Collateral Repair Project by Debbie Rodriguez with Oasis Rescue. Bushra's easy smile widens as she explored the contents of the bag. She thanks Oasis Rescue and CRP donors.

At this time, all that we can provide to this family is a box of food assistance. We hope we can provide a Micro-Project for Bushra in the future to help her home salon become more profitable.

Please consider donating so that Collateral Repair Project can resume providing Micro-Projects to help families like Bushra's to bring in much needed income.