Hakim: "The living conditions are very difficult; I don’t think any person can tolerate it"

February 22, 2011

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Hakim: "The living conditions are very difficult; I don’t think any person can tolerate it"

I am a Lebanese of Palestinian origin - I was naturalised in 1948. I am divorced and have two daughters from my previous marriage. They both go to school. I moved to the camp three and a half years ago after I lost my job and my financial situation deteriorated.

Living conditions here are very difficult; I don’t think anyone can tolerate them. Houses are congested and built in close proximity of each other; zinc roofs cause temperatures to rise in the summer and drop sharply in the winter; the infrastructure is nearly non-existent; there are numerous political parties and very little privacy in people’s personal lives that makes everyone seem short-tempered. Sometimes, when someone says hello, you want to start a fight with them.

I was introduced to MSF randomly one day, while at the UNRWA clinic. They were distributing brochures that described the symptoms related to mental health disorders. It said, if you have one of these symptoms, you should consult a therapist. When I read it, I laughed to myself because I realised I had them all. After speaking to the community health worker, she advised me to visit the MSF centre and gave me an appointment, so I went. I was deeply shocked and worried at the seriousness of my illness. I became conscious of the fact that if this condition I was in continued, without MSF’s help, I would have killed myself and my daughters.

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