#WorldRefugeeDay: Don't Sleep

June 20, 2018

It was just another day at work. I packed my camera and made my way to Beqaa, the eastern side of Lebanon. It was supposed to be a simple task. I was going to interview Souraya, a Syrian refugee. I arrived at a warm welcome. It was a smooth interview during which we discussed various topics around the shortage of water when suddenly Souraya makes an unexpected hand gesture to her son and a minute later, it happened. 


Omar was brought into the room. He was only twenty days old at that time. He was covered with a tiny brown sheet. I learned that Omar was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus, commonly known as "water on the brain", a disease that makes room for accumulated fluid leading to the swelling of the skull in babies and children. If not treated, Hydrocephalus can lead to brain damage, a deficiency in mental or physical abilities, or even death. 


By that time, he was granted an operation that was performed a week earlier. However, his doctor had not claimed the importance of a follow-up session. A couple of days after the operation, the symptoms started to appear again and worsened. 


The mother’s identification papers were kept by the hospital’s management, she still owed them around $320. Omar’s parents knocked on doors to try and get a chance at a second surgery. World Vision in Lebanon does not work in the health sector and I had no previous experience dealing with a similar situation. I didn’t know what could be done. I reached out to colleagues responsible for this area. They instantly answered the call and raised the case to various INGOs but with no luck. Omar’s situation is getting worse by the minute. 


Meanwhile, I couldn't last feeling helpless. As a videographer, the only way I could contribute is through my work. I gathered up a team and made this small video to echo the distress and pain of a mother about to lose her child. 


We often sing to our children to fall asleep but have you ever thought of a mother praying for her child to remain awake?


This blog was originally published on https://www.wvi.org/video/dont-sleep.

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