By observing reality as it is, and not as we would like to see it, as social workers we encounter stories that only life can tell. Very often these are not pretty stories, and perhaps precisely because of that fact, the one who chose this calling (profession) reaps the greatest fruits by realizing that before the challenge and after it, he has gained much more just by understanding, helping, and giving the best from himself to someone else.
After such situations and after this story, the one who gave himself should not think in any way that as a social worker he has worn himself out, because as we mentioned, stories colored by reality can open a lot of questions for thinking, maybe never not even offering real and true answers, and at the same time forbidding us to complain about anything in our lives, because they themselves, as they are, leave us speechless.
What we as an organization deal within, that part that is not so visible from outside and that we do not show to others, takes place within ourselves, so the only thing that stops us from writing this story is not to talk about our achievements or brag about our successes, but to help others to see things through the eyes of a social worker.
One morning in January, we were invited as an organization by another organization, where we were asked the question: would we accept a guy in the Arrupe House, to whom the tragedy of his own fate happened in one moment, before his eyes, in attempt to cross state border.
Namely, we were told the bare facts: his leg was amputated because he was hit by a train. Along the way, his spleen was removed, he suffered scull fracture, and he also had an appendectomy. He comes from Iraq, he doesn’t know a single language, except Kurdish, and our translator is the only one who doesn’t speak that language. At that moment, as professional workers, it is clear to all of us how much of a challenge it is to work with a case like this, what it all entails when it comes to responsibilities, but we all unanimously, as a team at that moment, agree with that, that the guy should be admitted to the house, which in the next few days and realized.
A child arrived at our house, who is eighteen years old according to the calendar. Of legal age. On crutches, with his left lower leg amputated. He greets us with smiling clear eyes as if nothing had happened to him. He doesn’t know the language, so all we have left is to use non-verbal signals like a small child to explain to him that we have the best intentions, to understand him and to tell him that he will be fine here with us. And that he will be safe.
It is placed in a room. The other kids don’t speak his language either. No matter where he is and no matter how safe he is in a certain place – he is alone!
Alone in everything that happened to him in one day. No one has explained the circumstances under which he was hit by a train near Sombor. He lost his leg in a hospital in Novi Sad, where he was given the best possible help at the given moment, after which he was sent to the Asylum Center in Krnjaca, so that his last and best choice (in terms of conditions and care) would be the “Pedro Arrupe” Integration House, according to the assessment of those who took care of him until then.
And who actually cared for him? Why did he end up on that road in the first place and where did he go?
What happened that day and is it possible that reality can be so cruel that despite everything that it imposes on you at one moment, that besides you are already on a journey, lost and alone, far from your country and everyone who love you and consider themselves your family, to discourage you at such a young age with everything it takes from you, and as if that wasn’t enough for life, keep you in a country where you can’t even understand anyone?! At least until the translator who comes to the Arrupe House only once a week appears.
Are there words that can express the pain this boy must be feeling?
Do not exist!
But he is still smiling, as if the train just passed by him and as if nothing, absolutely nothing happened on the way!
There is no adequate help that we can give him as people, because we can only be grateful to him for teaching us to think about life!
Milica Perovic, Social Worker