Salem is a 41year-old man who lives in a small apartment in Karantina with his family of five: him, his wife, his two toddler girls and his 10-year-old boy. They are originally from Dir El Zor.
This same appartement also accommodates another family of five. The appartement is old, with grimed walls and bare flooring. They do not own a fridge, neither furniture, nor beds, not even a closet.They use mats and rugs to sleep on during the night and sit on during the day. The only electricity they use is a small stove to cook and two lamps. Even with this many people in one place, securing rent each month is still a constant worry for them.
“If we have a good month, we manage to eat meat once, but our diet mainly consists of lentils, potatoes and vegetables,” he mentions.
Salem has one completely damaged eye and another that is indisposed. His vision is not very clear and due to his eyes’ sensitivity, he is unable to work in carpentry and agriculture.
However, after his foremost eye surgery in 2017, he completely lost sight in his right eye. Although he went back to Syria to complete another surgery for his eye retina, his sight condition kept deteriorating. And until today, he still struggles to find a job as no minimum wage job would take him due to his poor sight.
He used to be a daily worker in plantation fields when he was in Syria, before the war. And when he first moved to Lebanon, he started working as a porter at the Beirut Port.
“I am so grateful to be alive. I would have just gotten back to my house when the explosion happened. I can still remember the loud noise, and the ground trembling, I was so scared,” he says.
Salem is currently working as a floor sweeper in the offices at the port of Beirut after he quit his job in Dbayeh due to skyrocketing transportation expenses. He makes around 50 thousand liras per day, barely being able to cover his eye treatment expenses, his rent, and food for his family, in addition to the fact that he will need another surgery for his eyes.
He received financial support for CARE International in Lebanon so he can make ends meet. He is using the cash assistance to pay rent, medical expenses and put food on the table.
“My son used to work without pay. And now I can’t even get him into school because he is too old for middle school. I can’t get my family back to Syria because it has, indeed, become more expensive to live in. I just want my children to have a decent life. I want their wellbeing to come first,” he stresses.
Salem is trying his best for the future of his family.