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A Volunteer’s Feelings During a Roofing Mission

By Rawaa A. Mohammed.

“I dropped out of school! Girls at my class used to bully me all the time–and since I cannot afford new and fancy clothes like theirs, they would abuse me verbally and mentally.”
Huda, a little orphan, shared her yearning to get back to school with one of the IB volunteers; with shy tears coming out of her eyes, though she tried to hide them with an innocent smile.

Suah, a 31-year-old, a young woman who suffered tremendously in her life; she had to move in with her brother due to her loss of both of her parents–and that was just the beginning.

Due to lack of security in Iraq, Suha’s brother was exposed to a terrorist explosive in Baghdad, of which he was wounded and died subsequently because of it.
Shortly after, Suha’s sister-in-law suffered pregnancy complications while in labor, and she died right after delivering her 6th baby.
God knows what burdens has been fallen upon Suha’s shoulders! Raising her brother’s 5 orphaned children on her own–with a days-old newborn baby.

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The IB volunteer who interviewed Suha, noticed that when she interviews other struck-with-poverty families, she would empathize with those families’ circumstances, and act professionally with a limited detachment from clients to implement a higher level of objectivity.
Yet, with Suha it was a whole different story. In the IB volunteer’s words: “It felt like as if I was her best friend! In which I shared my personal daily struggle and thought with Suha.”
“It was difficult to comprehend that Suha never finished school–her vast breadth of high-level vocabulary and the way she articulated herself bemused me! It reflected her sharp intellectuality”, IB volunteer recalled.

Suha continued to share her story, “…during the [UN-imposed] sanctions, we were literally starving out of severe poverty. I had only my school uniform all year long–I would put it on even in school field trips…I could not make any friends, since my classmates were looking down upon me.”

The IB volunteer asked Suha whether she’s married or otherwise, she replied, “Who would propose to a girl with a low social status like me?!” and she cried her eyes out.
Suha sells candy and trash bags for living, raising her 6 orphaned nephews and nieces.
She was asked weather she is eligible for state welfare and social security benefits, she said that her one-bedroom house burned due to an electrical fault and she lost all her personal and children’s documents and identification papers–and thus, cannot apply for such benefits.

A generous donor granted Suah a piece of land, the IB Team erected a house for the family, bought her a sewing machine to live off of it, and raised her funds of a million Iraqi Dinars [$850.00].
The IB Team also is helping the family to get new identifications and necessary documents for day-to-day functions.

Suha got orphaned at a very young age, raising 6 children on her own, and selling candy in the streets in Iraq’s hellish summer of 50 C’ [135 F’].
Suha’s face blushed red like a tulip rose, when a girl, just like her, (i.e., the IB volunteer) told her you are very pretty!

Translated by: Mehmed Yaqubi.

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