In our new column, in which we make nice things happen for nice people, Khaled Wakkaa starts to turn his passion into a livelihood
In a Lebanese hospital in 2015, Khaled Wakkaa watched as his wife Dalal grew weaker. She was emaciated and jaundiced. In the two years since they had fled the Syrian civil war, they’d lived on the brink, sleeping on the street or on friends’ floors. “Me and my wife had started to die,” he says. The hospital wanted $500 for medical bills. Wakkaa left her in the waiting room and went begging at mosques and churches. Nobody would help.
Some friends posted about his situation on Facebook. Fellow Syrian refugees in Beirut started calling. “I received phone calls from people who don’t have money,” he says. “But they wanted to help me.” They gave him everything they’d managed to scrounge together: $200. At first, the hospital refused to accept the smaller amount, but relented after much pleading, and Dalal was admitted.