More than a week has passed and still not all the victims of this earthquake have been extracted from the rubble. These days our staff is relentlessly helping the populations of Aleppo, Latakia, Knayeh and Yacoubieh. The emergency centers welcome more than 4,000 people every day through the provision of food, medicine, blankets and other basic necessities.
Among those helped is Youssef standing impaled, a keffiy around his neck tied in the old way, the qahwe (coffee in Arabic) in his hand and his gaze lost in nothingness. Think of his restaurant, to his house among the olive trees in Knayeh, that house that no longer exists. There is no longer the restaurant that used to make 200 seats a day, and the olive trees either cut, burned, or destroyed. “We had a house in the hills in Knayeh, we hoped to go back one day, but it did not withstand the tremors and came down“, he says. When they fled in 2018, they found a small apartment in an apartment building overlooking the sea for rent. Latakia’s apartment was small, but when the boys left to go abroad, it seemed so big. Eternal displaced Youssef, they stole his house and the land has now destroyed it and in the second he can never return. Today he is in our reception center, accepting our blankets while dreaming of a better future”.
In Aleppo, Ibrahim’s heart trembled again. She cried all the tears of her little blind eyes. Ibrahim has never seen the world , he has only heard its noises, he has perceived all its smells, and he has learned that to the touch some things sting, others are soft, like hugs. The hugs, he reminded them one by one. Also because he had not received so many in his six years the little Ibrahim.
Despite having experienced so many, only one other time during the war had he happened to be so terrified. When the earthquake occurred, it had remained motionless and everything had collapsed, in the mouth the sand, in the nose the dust. Taste of blood in the mouth and then silence and rain. He immediately ran to our center, seeking shelter, food, and some comfort.
Farida is just five years old with her head and arms in the debris, moving and rummaging with great enthusiasm.
Look for Farida, then pull. Then roll down the hill of rubble and climb back up; The treasure is too precious to give up so easily. He grabs the object and pulls again, his face dirty with dust his rags soaked in earth and sugar and spices that brought flavor to the house. He rummages again Farida, pulls again as much as I can, until finally he conquers the long-awaited wool cover, stuck between boulders and iron. She no longer has parents, today we welcomed her in our center in Latakia, where we gave her a new blanket, in addition to food and what she needs at this time.
We continue to search, to hope to find people still alive under the rubble of the earthquake. And then start building again, as we have always done.
By Virginia Ciacci | proterrasancta.org