shared humanity / by Maranie Staab

most camps for the internally displaced are home to thousands if not tens of thousands of people. providing medical care for this population is often done by a handful of volunteers. as you might imagine, the need far outstrips the available resources. i have hundreds of photos from my time within the hasansham camp for the internally displaced. many of the photographs show pieces of life within the camp — medical care, food distribution, daily life scenes, portraits of beautiful iraqi children — very few even come close to doing justice to what it must feel like to be these individuals. 

this image may come close. there were over a hundred people, most women and children, waiting in the 105 degree weather to be seen by a small team of doctors. it was chaos and the situation reeked of desperation, helplessness and the quiet acknowledgment that their lives were no longer within their own control. 

i met her eyes for a moment and when she didn’t look away i couldn’t either. we studied each other for a long moment, side by side and yet worlds apart. what is her name? what has her life been up until this moment where she is resigned to sitting on the ground amidst a crowd of women who are simply trying to be seen by a doctor? what are her thoughts right now? what is her future and the future of her children and her grandchildren?