There is an Arabic proverb that says, “as long as you live, as much as you see.” It represents Aziz’s life journey.
Born in Karemlesh-Mosul in 1944, Aziz has spent 70 years in his ancestors’ home. When #ISIS swept through Mosul in August 2014, Aziz and his family had to act quickly to escape the persecution of their #Christian community. “It was one evening when three of my children’s families were at my house having dinner happily and peacefully. Suddenly, we hear gunshots and panicked voices coming from the neighbors shouting, “they are here! They are getting close!” recalls Aziz. They packed their bags with what they could and fled to Erbil.
Aziz and his family knew tough days were ahead; they lost everything back home. The first few years, his family survived with help from food baskets provided by the Archdiocese and funded by USAID. When #COVID19 hit, serious restrictions on movements made it difficult for Aziz to take care of himself and his family. Thanks to cash assistance offered by a USAID-funded program, Aziz was able to keep food on the table, pay rent, and receive medical treatment.
Despite all the hardship, Aziz still dreams of someday returning home: “There is a wish in my heart to go back to where I belong, my hometown, where my memories are stuck on the walls and streets of Karemlesh.”