What does it mean to spend your entire life not knowing what it means to live in peace? We have asked ourselves this many times in Afghanistan and here in Iraq, where every day we see the consequences of endless conflict and continued wars. Sometimes, however, this question seems to take on a physical, tangible form: it becomes incarnate in the wounded bodies of patients that we meet again even after many years.
A few days ago we went with the mobile clinic to Qoratu, a village in northern Iraq where about 600 Iraqi refugees live in order to escape the fighting. Among them is Ahmed, a 35-year-old man who fled from his home in the Baghdad area two months ago after the town he lived in was attacked by the ISIS. It was not his first encounter with war: in 2003 a bullet struck him in the thigh and since then Ahmed has had a prosthesis.
Ahmed broke his prosthesis while fleeing. When he came to ask us for help, he showed us a sheet of paper that immediately seemed very familiar. It did not take us long to recognize it: it was a discharge paper issued by our hospital in Sulaimaniya, where they had taken care of him more than 10 years ago.
In a few days Ahmed will return to Sulaimaniya to replace his prosthesis.
As he was leaving after his examination, he thanked us, rewarding us with a smile.
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