“We want to pick up life where we left off”

  • Iraq

In February 2017, Hossam and his family fled the fighting in Mosul and took refuge in Qayyarah displaced people’s camp. A few weeks later, Hossam had an accident that left him with a broken leg. He is being treated in Hamdaniya hospital, where Handicap International is providing him with physiotherapy care. 

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Hossam in his hospital room in Hamdaniya.

Stretched out on his hospital bed, the hours seem to pass very slowly for Hossam. He has lost interest in the colouring books and large ball that kept him amused when he first arrived. Hossam has been in hospital for nearly three months. Curious and energetic by nature, the only thing Hossam is in a hurry to do now is to get out of his room, to run around outside and to play with his friends again. But the heavy plaster cast around his right leg makes that impossible, at least for the time being. His father, Anis, tries to reason with him. He tells him to be patient and to focus on his rehabilitation exercises. At that moment, Mouna, a physiotherapist who works for Handicap International (HI), enters his room.

She starts the physiotherapy session with some muscle-strengthening exercises. As Hossam applies himself to the exercises recommended by Mouna, Anis recalls his son’s accident: “We fled Mosul on 26 February because the fighting had reached our district and our house was near the front line. We were displaced several times in the city before we decided to leave, because life was just too hard. We took refuge in Qayyarah displaced people’s camp, to the south of Mosul. Life certainly wasn’t easy there either, but at least we were safe. Then one day, when Hossam was out playing with his friends, part of a wall fell on him and broke his leg.”

Hossam was rushed to the city’s hospital where he was operated on. A few days later, he met Khaled, Handicap International’s physiotherapist. But he was still too weak to start rehabilitation sessions at that point. “They then transferred my son to hospital in Hamdaniya,” explains Anis. “This hospital mainly treats people who need a lot of post-operative care. My son only really started his physiotherapy sessions here, with HI.”

Hossam says he does his exercises every day. “I really like doing them, it helps pass the time,” he tells Mouna with a smile. He also says he’s looking forward to going back to school - it’s one of the things he misses most about what he calls his “old life”. As the physiotherapy session comes to an end, Mouna asks Hossam what he’d like to be when he grows up. The boy is silent for a few seconds and then replies enthusiastically: “I think I’d like to be an engineer, like my dad!” Looking fondly at his son, Anis replies: “All that is a long way off yet. All we want to do right now is to return home. I want to work again and rebuild my house... I want us to pick up life where we left off.”

Hossam and Anis in his hospital room in Hamdaniya. © E. Fourt / Handicap International

Published on 07/11/2017 - 11:34.

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