The house Najiba fled from is on the frontline between Kurdish forces and the so-called Islamic State (IS). While wild animals wander through her destroyed living room, she is residing in a porta cabin, waiting for the day to return…
Her current home, the porta cabin isn’t big. Two beds, a tiny kitchen and a separate toilet—that’s all there is. Najiba lives here with her husband. Her five children are grown up and live elsewhere.
The heart of the home “Our house was so beautiful, it was so organised,” Najiba starts sharing with a sad smile. “My favourite place was the kitchen. I loved to cook there, especially the typical Iraqi dishes. Now there is nothing.” IS entered her town, Tel Skuf, in August 2014. “We were able to leave the town just before they came,” Najiba tells us. “I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe I had to leave.”
Only weeks after Najiba fled, the Kurdish army reconquered her town from IS. They found the place had been rampaged by IS members. Najiba shows us pictures of how they found her kitchen. Her cheerful floral tablecloth is still on the table, her oven dish on it as if she just cooked an Iraqi meal in it. But around the table, everything is a mess.
Tears well up in Najiba’s eyes while she continues to describe her house. “The kitchen is still there, but the rest of the house is gone. There are just rocks, the roof is destroyed. Most likely it was hit by a mortar in the fight.” Her voice trembles. “Now I don’t have a house anymore.”
Najiba’s house isn’t the only one that has been destroyed or vandalised in the fight. The town is three kilometres from the frontline of IS and is used as a base for defending forces. Almost daily it is hit by mortars. “There is no electricity, no water, and wild animals wander through the town,” Najiba explains.
Returning is not an option for Najiba, not yet. Through a local partner, Open Doors provided her with this porta cabin. She and her family also received monthly food packages. Although she is happy with the help she received, adjusting to refugee life is hard for her. But she looks at life from the positive side.
“At least I don’t have to live in a tent… I believe in Jesus Christ. I am always thankful to God for what He is providing,” Najiba says as she gazes out of the porta cabin window over the vast valley. Not far behind the hills her town is waiting for her. “I hope God will help us to go back to Tel Skuf soon.”
Source: Open Doors
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