Day 36 – Life in Iraqi Kurdistan
11th of Novemebr 2014
So ! It’s been two weeks I haven’t upload any news here, sorry guys ! I’m not dead, neither kidnapped nor missing, but fully alive, in a great mood, and still having good time here 🙂
Fifth week in Iraq, and one month to go before the end of my mission here. The process for my residency visa is apparently taking ages, and most of the Rise Foundation crew is still waiting to receive the precious card ! About that, even if some of us are living here illegally it’s not really a problem. Everytime we are going out from the city, for instance to go to Akre camp (120 kms from Erbil), there are at least four or five Peshmergas check-points (Kurdish soldiers) but most of the time they are very happy to see you, very welcoming and helpful. So far I only had a problem once with an insisting Pesh who controlled us more than usually and found out that my visa expired a few weeks ago. So what, is he gonna deport me because of a stupid visa issue ? All I’m doing here is to help his population, come on bro, let me go, I’m not from Daesh ! It took us that day maybe five minutes to make him change his mind and let us go. I wonder what would have happen if he would not have change his mind though, as it was evening (dark outside), in the middle of nowhere and they were only two Pesh controling, which mean they cannot leave their position.
These lines are dedicated to all my French friends. If you have ever wonder how François Hollande could somehow be useful in any way, and I know that it’s hard to found a good reason about that, I did found one ! On september the 12th, French president came to Iraq and to Kurdistan, so he is very famous here, and people really likes him because he gave to Kurds weapons and supplies. So, when you say that you’re French you’re sometimes seen as a rock-star ! I had the same experience when I was in Georgia a few years ago, as former president Sarkozy took side of Georgians during the 2008 Russia-Georgian war.
Merci Flamby !
Situation in Iraqi Kurdistan is going on well. For the last week Peshmergas and Iraqi army gained some territory and kicked out Islamic State from a few villages and Zumar city. The mood is good among the Kurds, and peopel are willing that Mossul will soon be liberated. From the last news I got, the Peshs are three cities from the most inhabited city of the IS. And since yesterday there is a persistent rumor stating that Al-Baghdadi -the self proclamed califate of the IS- has been wounded during an US airstrike, among others IS military leaders that were killed. If this information get confirmed, that would be the most awesome news for a long time !
Concerning Rise’s work at the moment, it’s going on well. The #BuyABlanket campain has been productive, and we expect to get a lot of blankets to distribute very soon ! The plan is to buy them in Turkey for a very cheap price and to import them to Iraq and then make distribution among refugees and IDPs camps.
For a few week I’ve been telling you about the Castle Art project we are doing in Akre camp. Painting the walls with nice cartoons and freedom symbols with the kids. Well, since last week, we received a playground from Dubaï, and we are working very hard to install it into the playground area. I just return from Akre today, we’ve spent the day digging holes to put banches, tables and swings. Then made cimenting to fix it strongly inside the soil. It was the first time I was doing cimenting, and I actually really like that !
Life in the house is going on well, there are more and more people and it seem everyday a new person is coming ! We are at the moment 8 and are expecting a 9th one by the end of the week. So, we’re 3 Brits, 3 Neo-Zelandis, 1 American, 1 Spanish and 1 French. Nice multicural house ! 🙂
On the way back from Akre today, we went with Tom & Lucy to get some food to my favorite lam-er-jinn place, 300 meters away from home. I like this kind of countries when a policeman greets you with a big smile and let you go, when we actually were 3 people on the motorbike and no helmets. 1 month to go and I will be back to France and its rules ! Mixed feelings tonight..
Key Word : IDP : Internally Displaced People
IS : Islamic State