After the Quake: One Turkish Family’s Year-Long Struggle

Mashallah! Mashallah! Karapirli family — Mashallah! was an ordinary Turkish middle-class family. They were having kids — two boys and toddler twins. They were thriving. Goal! [screaming] And then the quake happened. Me and my colleague Ben Hubbard, we just reached the quake-hit area, and then we just saw this pancaked building. The Karapirli family remained under the rubble for more than 38 hours, when the rescuers, one by one, started to pull them out. So, first the twins were pulled out. Then Pinar. And then Ibrahim. They didn’t pull out the boys because they were already dead. Erdem was the older one. Enes was the younger of Erdem. So, from having four kids, they are now just with the twins. The family spent 106 days in hospital. Pinar lost an arm. Ibrahim lost extensive amount of mobility with his leg. He has a broken femur in many places and they lost one single property they have. But you can also sense this huge bond, very deep bond, between them. They have the twins and they have a new parental duty to just raise them, as they raised their boys. Hello, my dear, how are you? In one of the voice messages Pinar sent me — Tomorrow, if God allows… she was alerting me that they were going to be discharged from the hospital. I kiss you, take care. She sounded excited, also scared that the journey of the hospital is just ending. So they were discharged from hospital and then they moved into this flat, which they are still living there. We are trying to get used to the flat. We are dealing with the babies. They are good, thank God. Being naughty in full force. They are, and they have been, very much aware of the discrepancy between their physical wounds and the wound in their soul with the loss of their boys. There was one single big issue for Ibrahim — that he lost his iPhone during the quake, which he has all the pictures of the boys there. And then, a teacher bring to them a hand-made geography project by one of their sons. handmade geography project by one of their sons. We immediately, as parents, flashback to those moments that, that our own kids just having this, and one day these may be the only things that we would have from them. Mum, I’m so hungry, I’d like to eat something. What can I eat? Please! Later in time, the woman who took over the family’s bakery, she just get in touch, because she had voice messages from the boys on the WhatsApp line of the bakery. Mom, please bring us chee koftah [traditional dish]. Mom, I beg you, please! And you can see Pinar’s eyes and Pinar’s face enlightening. And then she says, “You know, it is just like as if they are not gone. That they are just going to walk in from this door.” And then she says, “It hits you it is not the case.” One-line caption on bottom. Two-line caption on two lines. Captions break at the phrase.

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