The Faces of Pain – The story of Aziza Huusein Khidhr
In the wee small hours of the morning, in the quiet time just before dawn breaks and the earth seems quiet and still, Aziza Huusein stirs from sleep as she feels sharp shooting pains in her groin. She lays still trying not to remember, doing her best to put the pain she is feeling aside so she can once again bury her deeper pain, the pain she lets no one see, especially her six children.
Unfortunately, the story of her hidden pain is not an unusual one for this place, she moves slightly and pain rips down her groin, she sighs. Her sigh is one of pain mixed with fond memories and dark places buried in her heart. Aziza is a refugee from Glrgamesh village in the Zummar district of Ninewa governorate, Iraq.
In December 2015 the Nineveh Plains offensive was a battle in which the Islamic State of Iraq and ISIL mounted a multi–front attack against Peshmerga forces in the area north and east of Mosul. The attack was the most significant ISIL military operation in the area in months. It was successfully repelled by the Kurdish forces and was followed by a coalition air counter-offensive.
At 42 years of age Aziza could not dispel the memories welling up inside her, through the pain in her groin she surely knew the truth as she considered, “My father was murdered on the Syrian border in 2001, and my brother was killed by the terrorists in 2008 after he joined the Iraq Border Guards”. Here, in this refugee village, all those memories spilled out of her mind through that constant and ever-growing pain in her groin. Once, not really long ago, although time had a way of deceiving one’s soul, she and her six children lived in a most beautiful village called Glrgamesh. The settlers of Glrgamesh had earlier heard what brutalities and relentless destruction ISIS implement’s while occupying a region, the people living in this beautiful village tried to escape to a safer region in the province of Duhok.
Aziza heard a medical team was coming to the village as part of a collaboration between several humanitarian organizations to provide care and treatment for those in need. When the Heevie Mobile Medical Team arrived, with medical drugs and supplies furnished to them through Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation and the UK based organization IHP (International Health Partners), Aziza sought them out and was treated for a severe urinary tract infection.
Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation’s President Mariwan Baker spent some time speaking with those refugees being treated, Aziza was one of those people willing to share some of her story, “ISIS occupied our village, they destroyed everything we had, they stole what they could, and exploded many houses”. After a few months of occupation, GIrgamesh and other surrounding villages were liberated by Peshmarga and Iraqi forces. After the liberation, life started to get back to normal – if one could classify living in constant fear “normal”. The government did its best to provide for its resident’s basic needs, but there was a strong shortage of the health care services.
“One day, I had loin pain, fever, and poor appetite”. After being seen by one of the doctors of the Heevie Mobile Medical unit, Aziza received her medication to treat the infection, all from the supplies provided through Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation and IHP. These groups provide care to refugees in need on an on-going basis. Aziza, still in the half wake sleepiness of the early morning, faces yet another day of pain, although her infection is being treated she glances at the breaking dawn, sighs and remembers the days when life was not such a burden for her and her children. She is comforted though by the knowledge she is being acknowledged as a person, someone who has seen too much pain in her life and she prays her children will not have to live in this situation much longer.
Following the course of her treatment Aziza was free from those nagging, painful symptoms and resumed her daily activities. The pain in her heart still persists to this day.