Sabri is in her 30s, has a degree in psychology and worked as a teacher. She usually lives in the UK with her husband and son. At the time of interview, she was in her hometown, Mahabat (Iran/Kurdistan), caring for her mother. Things are bad in Mahabat, there is a shortage of PPE. The Iranian government don’t care, especially in the Kurdish region – here the people have been deliberately abandoned.
At the start of the pandemic, I took a social care job with the NHS. I worked for 2 months with elderly people. I enjoyed helping others. But I gave up for the sake of family life. My husband is very sensitive and scared of Covid and wouldn’t let me carry on working.
Then I got a phone call to say my mother in Mahabat had a tumour in her brain and needed urgent surgery. It turned out it was benign, not malignant. But it was a nightmare. I’m the oldest child, I had to go back to be there for my mum before the operation. It was such a difficult decision. My husband and I finally agreed I should go back with my son.
The surgery was successful, but she will be in hospital for two months. I haven’t left the hospital for a month. One of my sisters is a nurse, and she came every other day as well. I’m so glad all is well so far with my family. But I’m so sad that many people lost their lives or their loved ones. Things are bad in my city, Mahabat.
In Mahabat there is a shortage of PPE, it’s nothing like in the UK. The Iranian government don’t care, especially in the Kurdish region – here the people have been deliberately abandoned. Iran has had many donations from European countries, but nothing has been delivered to cities in Kurdistan. It’s a disaster, so many shortages.
My father has lost many friends and family members. One of my cousins, his father and his wife died from Covid. My sister the nurse told me many children have also died here because of Covid.
To help avoid stress and nourish my spirit I’ve started to teach my son Farsi – it’s the main language in Iran and he ought to learn it. Dian also recorded a video for Covid Chronicles which many people admired. He talks about the COVID-19 pandemic, not only the negatives – but what positives he has seen, including the surge in community help and support. A heart-warming message to stay safe and protect others!
Myself, I have started to learn to write Sorani Kurdish. And I love playing music – I’m learning to play Santur (dulcimer). I went to classes in UK and recently I started here in Iran twice a week.
Human beings are powerful, we have many abilities and can handle any circumstances. We should think positively, even in hard times like now. We must look after ourselves and others. We must improve our immune systems with good food and exercise and positive thinking.
We should remember that our lives are in God’s hands, he protects us. If we are negative and pessimistic, life will be more difficult.
Interview by Shahsavar Rahman on 26 June 2020