The Longest Lashes This Side of the Euphrates

A collage of photos of Hassin getting his echocardiograph in the Najaf hospital.

Hassin’s grandmother was pacing outside the lab, waiting for her grandson’s turn to be screened. From the look she gave the other families, they weren’t about to cut in front of her.

Having a friend there to translate, I walked over and introduced myself. I haven’t quite figured out what it is yet, but I think some combination of my height, dorky glasses, pasty skin, and ginormous camera make most Iraqis a little unsettled around me, sometimes even suspicious.

But she barely noticed me, she was so fixated on Hassin. When I commented on his eyelashes, she replied, “Yes, he’s really much too beautiful to be a boy, isn’t he?”

It wasn’t long before the cardiologist identified a hole in the lower part of Hassin’s heart, and the doctors immediately put him on the surgical list. Grandma kept lifting her hands and praying aloud for his safety.

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A photo of Hassin's grandmother praying over him as he watches Toy Story on an iPad and receives an echocardiogram.

The Iraqi doctor next to me explained that it was too difficult for the parents to even be in the room, so they entrusted their child to her. They’ll be getting good news, though, because Hassin’s surgery is as definite as things get here in Iraq!

Keep reading, we’ll have more of Hassin and his grandmother coming your way.

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