Payman’s family starts their day with a meagre meal of a bowl of yoghurt and some stale bread. Her four daughters hungrily eye the front door with anticipation of one of the neighbours to bring them food for the day.
“This meal is all we have in the house, we rely on Samaritan for lunch and supper,” said the 43-yar-old Payman.
Payman’s husband, 43-year-old Fayaq Star, heads to a public square in Daquq after breakfast in the hopes of a day’s job as a labourer so he can at least make some money to buy food for his family for a few days.
Fayaq had been working in a plastic factory in Kirkuk, but it was closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Currently he can find work as labourer only one or two days a week, earning only $8,40 to $12,60 a day. This has been the case for several months.
I feel as if I die every day, as I see my children eyeing the front door in anticipation of a neighbour or a relative to give us handouts
“I feel as if I die every day, as I see my children eyeing the front door in anticipation of a neighbour or a relative to give us handouts,” said Fayaq.
The family belongs to the Kaka’i community in Daquq. Until recently, they resided in an unmaintained rented house, for which they had to pay 200,000 Iraqi Dinars (about $168) per month, which they couldn’t afford paying and were evicted from the house.
When ISIS attacked the region in 2014, Fayaq and his family move to Kirkuk for safety where he started working at the plastic factory. But when the Coronavirus outbreak took place, the factory was closed and he lost his job. And subsequently, they returned to Daquq.
“I couldn’t pay the rent for the house in Kirkuk; I was forced to sell our refrigerator, but I couldn’t get enough for it, and we were kicked out of the house.”
One of the four daughters of Payman and Fayaq has a skeletal abnormality in her legs and can’t walk. Both of her legs are crooked and next to constant medical care they need to be operated on.
Fayaq himself and another of their daughters suffer from a liver infection and need medicine for that as well.
I have lost my job due to the Coronavirus and the lockdown, while my children need medical treatment
“I have lost my job due to the Coronavirus and the lockdown, while my children need medical treatment and the landlord presses me to pay the rent every now and then. I am ruined and on the brink of becoming homeless,” said Fayaq.
And as they feared, the family was evicted from the house in Daquq as well, and they now live in an unfinished house in the Daquq district.
Their eldest daughter is 15. The one with the infliction in her legs is 9-year-old Fatma. The others are 6-year-old Sara and 4-year-old Zaynab.
Their home is almost empty. There is one small TV set in a corner; some thin rugs on the ground; a small empty kitchen with a small refrigerator lent to them temporarily by a neighbour; a small closet in the bedroom.
“I sold our refrigerator and washing machine to pay the rent,” said Payman tearfully as she showed the KirkukNow reporter round their house.
Fatma’s operation costs nearly $3,400. But the family also has to pay for the medicine needed for Fayaq and her other daughter’s liver infections.
“I am ashamed. But this is the reality I live in. When my husband goes to find work on a daily basis, I beg to God he can find some for the sake of the children,” said Pyaman.
“It is very dreadful when you are having breakfast thinking of lunch and supper and hoping Samaritans bring you food.”