Badia is 49 years old. This mother of two, aged 15 and 8, has never worked. She lives with her husband much older than her and her small family, in a small house in Tripoli, consisting of a bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom. For all furniture, Badia has only a worn bed and an armchair. At night, the children roll out thin sponge mattresses on the floor to sleep.
“My husband was a soldier, he still receives a monthly pension of 1,400,000 Lebanese pounds (about 43 USD per month). “The money is barely enough for us to pay the rent, the water, and the subscription to the generator. For the rest we rely on providence”, she says.
“My husband, Ghassan, 68, tried to become a street vendor. Not for very long. My eldest son is looking for work, but he can’t find anything. My youngest is going to school. It’s been years since I bought clothes from them. The youngest has no more shoes, he is growing up and I cannot afford to buy him any. Since this winter, he has been going to school in slippers. That’s all he has,” she adds.
“Thanks to the vouchers from CARE International, we were able to eat well for a few months. I bought fruits, vegetables, and meat. Before CARE vouchers we had not eaten meat for months. We do not even have the means to buy a Mankouché (bread of thyme and oil known to be the food of the less fortunate in Lebanon). I wonder what I’m going to do when the project stops, she says.
“At least now I can cook fresh products. I no longer lack vegetables, because even potatoes and onions have become too expensive,” she explains.
Despite the extreme poverty in which she lives, Badia is grateful for the little things she has, “I spend my time at home. I pray a lot and I thank Providence for everything I have,” she says, still fearing the worst and unable to project herself into a better future.