Days in these mine-infested fields begin like any other, whether they will irreversibly alter someone’s life or not.
“The grass looked greener in the other field, so I thought I’d take my sheep there to graze. There’s an abandoned military base, but I didn’t think that … ”
This is how Othman begins his story. A prosthesis replaces his left leg, which he lost in that field due to an unexploded landmine hidden in the soil.
“When I saw the blood, I thought it was one of my sheep that was hit… but it was me.”
One year on from that incident, one of his children – who had replaced his father working in the fields – stepped on another mine and lost his life.
“He was collecting wood for the whole family. He was only 18.” Othman remembers.
Othman first arrived at our Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, in 1997, but periodically returns to visit us so that we can fix and adapt the prosthesis to the shape of his body.
“Let’s look forward”. That is what we tell our patients every day, encouraging them to take back the life that war has snatched away. We help them to do just that.