Ramazan left Mosul the day ISIS arrived in June 2014. He had been a maker of small cars for children, a variation on the labor of his father who worked in a car shop. The only possessions Ramazan took with him when he fled were a handful of photos showing his bright little cars, bursting at the sides with grinning children.
The pictures were taken just two years ago, but he uses them to demonstrate how he has aged: his black hair is streaked with silver, his smooth skin folds into shallow channels across the forehead, some of his teeth have fallen out. In a home with bare concrete walls, these photos are both a comfort and a painful reminder of a life gone missing.
Since Ramazan has no work in the displacement camp, he can’t afford to buy the materials to build children’s cars again. He says he doesn’t have anything to do. That’s why he decided to take a music class offered through a charity foundation.
“Music calms me down,” he says. “It makes me young again.”