Friday, February 20, 2009

Sahar'a - Feb 18

Sahar'a and her youngest son Ahmed (age 16) live in a sparsely furnished flat. Her older son, Abdullah was caught working illegally at a shop 3 years ago. He was imprisoned for two months in Jordan and then sent back to Iraq. Now Ahmed works doing odd jobs when he can - mostly physical labor. He has not attended school since his brother was deported. Sahra'a tells us, "He is the only one bringing income in for us."

The 60 JD monthly cash grant the family receives can no way meet their most basic needs so young Ahmed must fill in the rest. Rent is 120JD including electricity and water. Sahar'a tells us that Maha paid her rent (through Iraqi donors funds) two months ago when they could not pay it.

Sahra'a was married but her husband was killed when he returned to Basra to visit family there. I asked if she knew who had murdered him and why. She does not know but speculates that it was because he was Sunna.

Her health is not good. She has chronic infection in her knees, disc problems in her back and artitus. To purchase all of the medications she needs cost another 30JD a month.

I ask her what she needs most right now and she immediately says "Resettlement". She cannot return to Iraq, her life here is brutally hard, her son has no future. Her sister has been resettled to Australia and Sahra'a hopes to join her.

Families have been irrevocably fractured - by death, by separation from those remaining in Iraq, and by continents. Iraqis value family and community more than most of the us in the West can understand. Having had to leave thier homes and communities and to now be willing - desperate even - to be relocated, proves only how desperate their situations have become.

We delivered food assistance to this family