Sometimes we need to help thousands of people, another time it is just one person
We have already come back home and immediately got back to work. Now we need to write financial statements for our projects and make preparations for other activities.
We have already come back home and immediately got back to work. Now we need to write financial statements for our projects and make preparations for other activities. In the previous article I was describing interviews conducted with families that have received livestock from us. They were not easy. Many of them are single mothers with children whose husbands were murdered by ISIS or who have gone missing. Many of those women and children survived captivity in the ISIS’ hands.
Practically all of them want to go back to Sinjar – their hometown – but at the moments it is impossible. The region is still unsafe. Huge swathes of land or covered with landmines. The most basic infrastructure needs rebuilding. However, these conversations have allowed us to draw some optimistic conclusions – as far as optimism can be found in such a situation.
Sometimes thousands of people need to be helped.
At the beginning of December, I went alone to Iraq (for those who do not know, I – David Czyż – am the narrator of all posts you can find on this website and the Eaglewatch’s social media). Bartek and Andrzej Rzepecki arrived after several days.
I have recently written quite a lot about the ‘beasties’ – our informal name for the project that deals with building crofts and supplying families with livestock. In this and previous year we were able to support 260 families in Khanke, Sinjar, Bashiqa and Karnjook in this way. This is certainly our greatest achievement in terms of the scale of assistance.
I have also written in a separate article about the building of 65 houses in Sinjar. Currently, all houses are ready. What is left is connecting electricity and inserting windows. All works will be finished in the next few days.
Let’s go back for a moment to our visit. I had finished my task by the time Bartek and Andrzej arrived. Later on I could focus on documenting our trip. After their arrival, the next task was to prepare financial statements of a project carried out with local foundations, whose hands did all the work. These foundations include: SCO – Shengal Charity Organization, Gilgamesh Organization for Development and Relief, and Ourbridge. The first two were involved in the construction of houses, supplying families with livestock and purchasing medical equipment. With these, we have closed the projects and discussed all the issues and plans for the next year. We have been cooperating with them for two years over which we have developed friendly relations. They host us in their houses where we sleep on the floor and thanks to their help we can reach the most needy people.
We have visited the Havalty Camp as well. Currently, eight families are living there, most of them former ISIS captives. It is an informal camp which is not on the map of humanitarian organizations. We try to support them every time we are there, as apart from their neighbors they cannot count on any other help. We have already provided them with livestock. Not a long time ago we bought them new roof coverings, heaters and heating fuel for the winter. This time they have asked for floor carpets. It may seem prosaic, but concrete floors and walls made of hollow bricks are not the best insulators. A small heater does not give much warmth if the floor they sleep on is cold.
The next day we went to a local store and bought several carpet rolls and insulation foam. Together with the previous purchases, this will be their basic protection from the winter cold.
Some small-town issues.
There were many more meeting and places to visit. Apart from the above-mentioned ones it is worth to tell you about one more. Karnjook is a small village in the Nineveh Plains. 70 families live there. They are mainly farmers supporting themselves with the work of their hands. There is not even a grocery store there. It is a place forgotten by everyone, living its own, peaceful life. However, it is not as idyllic as it may seem at first glance. There are only eleven children in the village. The residents struggled to support their families. We built a few dozens of crofts and bought sheep, goats and hens for them. The village’s leader is an experienced shepherd, who will help the residents with animal husbandry. I think I am allowed to say we have helped the entire community of Karnjook village.
Sometimes only one person needs help.
Before we went to Khanke, I received a very honorable invitation. It was a three-day-long fasting time for the Yazidids, during which wives leave their husbands and spend these days with parents and siblings. Shamoo, whom you met in one of the „From Water to Sand” episodes, is lucky because his wife’s family lives in the same town. He took me on a visit to his wife and their one-year daughter. I had a rare chance to participate in their celebration. On the side note, few days earlier I was invited to the Yazidi wedding. It was completely different than a traditional ceremony. Everything happened in an intimate atmosphere which was far from a Polish wedding.
During that visit, I leared about a girl who lives nearby. She is 20 years old and lives alone, which is very unusual for the Yazidis. In 2007 she lost her parents in the bloodiest terrorist attack since 9/11. In Til Ezer terrorists drove three cars full of explosives and petrol into a market crowd. 800 people were killed, and 1,500 were injured. Several years later the Islamists carried out genocide on the Yazidis. The girl survived, but she was severely traumatized. In addition to that, her brother went abroad and does not keep in touch with her. She is completely on her own. Her neighbors and friends visit her from time to time providing food and clothes. We left 250 euros with Shamoo to buy the most basic things for her. That was all we could do at the moment.