In the News / February 2017

International Institute of Erie’s clients highlighted in showcase

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Abdulsatar Alkaiali, Syria

“A nine-second video shows Abdulsatar lying on a hospital stretcher, his shirt bloodied from his arm’s open wound. The short clip has more than 1,100 views and a suggested audience of 18 and over.

On April 8, 2013, at 4:45 p.m., Abdulsatar life’s changed forever. He was approaching a Syrian checkpoint when he witnessed something odd from afar: two cars at a standstill. There was a man in one car; a man and a woman in the other. All were dead. Abdulsatar’s car was the third approaching the checkpoint, and he immediately knew he must jump out of the car as it was moving, in order to save himself from being shot next.

As he jumped out of the car, Abdulsatar was shot at 17 times by the Syrian Army guard; 16 missed and one got him in his upper arm: a gunshot that struck and ripped through his bones. It all happened so fast, and was a moment of survival. He started to run, losing lots of blood. He needed to get to a hospital. Fast.

Abdulsatar ran about 2,000 meters shouting for help. He met a rebel group fighting against the Syrian regime of Assad. They put him in a pickup truck, where he kept passing out. People he didn’t even know were hitting him on his cheeks, trying to keep him awake. The rebel group took him to the nearby clinic, where they couldn’t help his seriously injured arm. He was told to go to the main hospital. At this time, blood still dripped, and fast. It was all over his clothes.

Abdulsatar arrived at the main hospital where the doctors didn’t have much blood. He was given half of a bag. Then he did the unthinkable. He begged the four guys next to him for blood. He did not know their type, but it was a decision he had to make. The wounds were too serious for the doctors to repair his arm. They had to amputate.

Abdulsatar is now living in Erie with his wife and two boys. He and his wife attend English classes through the Erie International Institute. He recently interviewed for a job at indoor water park Splash Lagoon.”

Read more stories of Erie’s refugees in the Erie Reader.

Photo Credit: Maitham Basha-Agha


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