â€œBefore a rocket bomb hits, you can hear it. You hear the sound it makes soaring through the air towards you, getting louder and louder.
On November 28th of 2012, my father and I were sitting in our living room in Syria, talking to each other. It was 10 p.m. and the rest of my family was at my sisterâ€™s house nearby. Suddenly, we heard the noise. A rocket bomb hit our house and everything went black.
It stayed black.
The next thing I remember is that I woke up in a hospital. There was a bandage covering my eyes, some doctors were talking in Turkish and I didnâ€™t understand a word. Then, somebody translated for me: â€˜Itâ€™s January 12th of 2013. You have been in a coma because you were injured in a bombing. Your father didnâ€™t survive. You are in Turkey now because your family transferred you here for better medical care.â€™ I was so afraid because I didnâ€™t see anything, but the doctors kept saying: â€˜Relax, you will be able to see again when we take the bandage off.â€™ Later I found out they had been lying to give me hope.
When I realised I was blind, I felt like I had lost my life and the ability to provide a future for my wife Doaa and myself. My only hope is to recover and to be able to work again.
God gave me patience. Now I am in Austria with Doaa and my little brother Bashar. They helped me get through three very difficult years. I still have hope that the doctors in Europe will be able to help me. My right eye has been removed, but I can feel my left one. I can see white light very weakly.
I would like to study, do sports or work, but there are no organizations for injured refugees like me. I feel forgotten and lost. Somebody told me that Austria was not exposed to war for a long time and therefore the people are not used to dealing with a wounded person like me. It is difficult for them to look at me and that makes me very sad.â€
Doaa Hegok, 20, Syria:
â€œI want to build a happy future with Basem here in Austria. My biggest wish is to have a child and a home of our own.
When I received the message that he was wounded in the hospital, I was so afraid that I fainted. But I stayed with him all this time because I love him, and I love that he loves me. He is a kind, friendly and respectable person and I like that we laugh a lot together. Laughter is medicine for the heart.â€