We repair lives

Rasha Zayoun

Portrait Rasha Zayoun

Rasha Zayoun

I was born in 1990. I don’t know which day or month, but I know that I am 17 years old. I come from Maaraka Sour, a small village some 15 km from Sour (Tyr) in South Lebanon. I am the second of five children, four sisters and one brother. My brother is the oldest. He is 20 years old. My father is 50 years old and my mother 49 years old. They look really old, much older than their real age. My parents do not really work, they are exhausted and sick.

My mother has problems with her heart. I don’t know exactly why they are sick. My father sometimes does seasonal agricultural work. My uncle, the brother of my dad, supports us. He takes care of all the family. We are about 30 people. We all have different houses, but we live close to each other. My uncle works in the construction sector. My elder brother works in a bakery and prepares cakes and sweets. He is not married and helps my parents (''economically''). I would like to have more money. I think my family is poor. Our house was destroyed during the July 2006 war. We have no furniture. We have walls and a roof. They are burnt and look really black. I have a “boyfriend” for two years, Hassan. He is 23 years old and he is a baker too, like my brother. I think I will get married soon. I would like to have one child. When I will get married I will stay at home and live in the house with my husband. I am studying at (lower) secondary school, in the sixth grade. I am not really interested in continuing my studies after this year. I like drawing. I draw clothes. I make carpets and clothes in my neighbour’s house. Actually I am helping the neighbour, who then sells the carpets and the clothes and earns some money. I am Shia, I am very religious. I pray every day. I belong to a tribe called Sur, like my town. I have had more than 10 operations on my left leg. It was amputated below the knee. I wear a prosthesis. Look at it. It hurts. Now the shrapnel has been removed, but I have wounds in my right leg also. It hurts too. The last surgery was two months ago and lasted two hours. I don’t know which type of weapon injured me, but I know that it was a weapon that comes from the sky. During the war we run away from our village. We came back once the war was over. When we got back I was with three other girls from my family in front of the house when the thing exploded. I found the thing, and I started playing with it. I didn’t know exactly what it was. I dropped it and it exploded. I got injured, but the other three girls weren’t touched by the explosion. I don’t remember what happened next. They put me in a car and drove me to the hospital. I was unconscious for 20 days. I woke up and then fainted again and again. I was in the hospital in Sur, not in Beirut, and my parents were with me. When I was injured I could feel from the beginning that I didn’t have the leg anymore. I knew that. At the hospital I was very unhappy because I lost my leg, but apart from that everything else was ok. Maybe I was sad and scared. After that I spoke with journalists, French journalists. I didn’t mind talking to them, but still it was uncomfortable. My parents were very worried. Hassan was unhappy. Cluster munitions were all around my house. I saw lots of bomblets, it was like they were all around, but now they have been cleared. Some people had explained to me that I shouldn’t touch anything. This was before the incident. On the day of the incident I thought it was a toy, it looked like a ball. Incidents are normal; I know lots of kids in my situation. I want to help but I don’t know what to do. Maybe I can help when I grow older. This week in Belgrade I started understanding lots of things, such as the importance of other languages. I want to learn English now. When I become older I would like to do your kind of work.

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