Every time I go to Iraq I can count on new experiences. Every time I come back home, I get there with millions of thoughts. Maybe it is because I have gotten to understand the situation a lot better? Maybe I get more and more attached to people we help? The main puropse of this trip was to gather materials for a book about those who have survived. I was supposed to help to find those people. How do they live? Do they manage to get o with their lives? It was the most difficult task I have ever had there.
Natalia and Tatiana have gone to Iraq with me. The book I have mentioned will be available on the market in few months. It will be Natalia’s first book. Tatiana, a photographer was capturing all of those moments. You can see her works here.
W have started off as we did last time, from visiting an educational centre in Khanke. We have been fundrising for them since July. In case you do not know what the centre is all about, please read up all about it here (polish version only).
I have given some of the funds to the director. It will help to keep the centre up and running. I have also decided to figure out what the centre needs the most. They do not need much and our monthly support is enough to get them through each month. They even plan to admitt more students in the nearest future. And it is because we are providing them with ongoing suppport.
In IDP camp in Khanke we have met with Shamo, who has a shop opened within our Good Work project. He has greeted me with joy and I was so happy seeing him getting on. We have also seen the tents we have helped to rebuild after the last year’s fires.
Small buildings stand now where the fire caused a tragedy (a seventeen years old girl has been killed in the fire). Well, it is not a dreamed of home, because it would be hard to call IDP camp a home, but it is still better than torn tent. There is electricity and it is clean even though they still sleep on the mattresses on the floor. It does not seem like much, but I am happy that we were able to help them.
In the house where we stayed, where we had a luxury of a shower, we were met by Nazlican. She is a student and came here from Germany to help in the camp. Her parents have left Turkey before she was born. They are Alawites, muslims that have been persecuted because of their faith (they are a religious minority, mainly living in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Turkey. They are Muslims but their faith strongly differs from Shiites and Sunnis). Because of how her family was treated in Turkey, she has decided to come to Khanke to help Yezidis, who suffered simmilar fate.
The next days were filled with conversations, sometimes very difficult ones. We have visited lalish (where we found more about Yezidi history), we have visited ex – soldiers from volunteer units (most of them lead “civilian” lives now, but I am sure that they will be ready to put on their uniforms any time when the need arises).We have also checked on Muhanet, a boy that we have met last year (read here).
He is a grown man. He’s 19, lives with his siblings in an orphanage in Serchan. He was not able to make his dreams come true and go to school but he still thinks that there will be a time when he will be able to do it. Now he is looking for a job. Although, he can stay in an orphanage he would like to be able to support himself and his siblings. Well, it was not a very optimistic story and I hope that he will be able to reach his goal this time.
We have also spokem with Haiyat. When ISIS attacked Sinjar she was kidnapped along with her two daughters. They have spent a year and eight months in captivity. We will write more about her in next few days because we took interest in her story.
Two days before we left for Poland we have gone to SCO – one of the organisations we cooperate with. They have helped us organise first sewing classes. A few minutes after we arrived a woman knocked on the door. After few minutes there was another, and another. They have shared their stories with us and finished off with exactly the same worried look. People look for every opportunity to get help and I am not surprised. It is extremely hard to be a single mother there. They will not find work (there are no preschools to live their kids at). Without a husbands who have been killed they have to rely on other’s mercy. Unfortunately we were not able to help them but our friends promised to look after them.
There was so much more going on during this trip. But all of the stories had something in common. A lack of hope. Some of them, though were able to give us a bit of that hope back. We will share all of them with you in the nearest future. I will try to write a more optimistic article next time. No matter what. Below you can find hyperlinks to “Good Work” projects and educational centre in Khanke.