Day 51 – Life in Iraqi Kurdistan

Day 51 – Life in Iraqi Kurdistan

25th of November 2014

Two weeks ago the weather was still warm and that Saturday also was sunny, this was lucky for us as we had decided to make a road trip to Shaqlawa, 50 km north from Erbil. Campbell, the New-Zealand dude joined me with his bike, and we started hitting the road towards the north. Astonishing views, beautiful landscapes on the way. A real great time! We met with the other guys who went by taxi, and then started hiking. Hiking in the mountain is usually nice, but it is even better when at the top there is a very old Christian monastery from the 4th Century!

 

« Only » 4 check points on the way. It’s kind of curious the way you can get used to seeing weapons and guns surrounding you constantly. When you first arrive into Middle-Eastern countries and especially in those countries with internal conflicts or war zones, you’re always impressed by seeing soldiers, militias and people with weapons in their hands, and that’s probably normal because we don’t have those conflicts in Western Europe. Well here, Police and Peshmergas (soldiers) carry guns, that’s kind of obvious and normal though. But that day on my way to the mountain, I caught myself not feeling any special emotion or interest when I saw that even the shepherds have Kalashnikovs with them all the time. You’re simply getting used to that permanent conflict atmosphere between people here.

 

So when the bomb attack happened last week, of course I was horrified for the people who died that day, but at the bottom of my mind, I think I wasn’t feeling any special emotion. It’s like « oh, ok, one more, still it’s a normal day ». So, when people are asking me if I’m not constantly scared simply by my presence here, with the ongoing atmosphere of war and shit, I think that I am not scared anymore. There are many people living here, locals but also foreigners. Some have been here for years, some have just arrived. But there is life happening, and life will continue every time there is such a dramatic incident. Obviously it sounds dramatic when I mention Iraq, Islamic State and Bombings, but after some time you simply get use to all that stuff, and it’s easier for adaptation and integration in the society.

 

There is genuinely a lot of racism between Kurds & Arabs here, and when the bombing happened, all the check-points had the order to block any Arabs getting in Erbil or in Kurdistan. Even if they live here, there was absolutely no chance that the Peshmerga would let them in. Not at least for a few days until the situation returns to normality.

 

Last Friday we made an Art Exhibition with paintings and drawings from refugees. Kids but also adults, and it was a great success! It took us a whole day to install the whole of it, but it was definitely worth it, because a lot of people came to see, and many bought the artworks! The initial price of a painting went directly to the refugee artist who painted it, and all the money raised above that price at the auction went to Rise Foundation so that we can continue our activities to help those same refugees. A really enjoyable day!

 

Also, since last week, a project that Rise Foundation was doing last winter has been started up again, and I’m in charge of it. Twice a week we’re going to refugee campsites and are showing movies and cartoons to the children. Last Tuesday we showed Tom & Jerry for an hour to 70 kids. Their smiles and laughs were priceless!! Just through seeing us coming with all the cinema project material, they were all screaming of happiness : «  CINEMA, CINEMA!! » A small detail must be mentioned here though, we have currently got electricity breakdowns everyday, when we’re lucky there are no more than 5 powercuts a day, but usually we are spending half of the day without electricity at all. And the first day, when we got to the refugee campsite, there was no electricity, and all the children were very sad about it because the project was cancelled. Five minutes before we were due to leave, the power came back, and I think I will keep that image stuck in my mind for many years, all the kids suddenly raised their arms in the hair, got a huge smile and there was a huge « HOURRAH » which I’m sure could have been heard in Baghdad as well as it was so loud! So, on a regular basis, we are going every Tuesday to show those movies to Yezidis, and every Wednesday to Assyrian Christians refugee kids.

 

I have been very interested in ancient Mesopotamian and generally in the pre-Islamic civilisations of the Middle-East for a while already, and I remember how powerful it was when I got to see Persepolis in Iran two years ago. So I was looking for another place around here for more personal interest. A city called Namrud (or Nimrud) is only a 100 kilometres from here, and is the old Assyrian capital of the ancient civilisation, on the west bank of the Tigris river south of Mosul. According to a journalist friend living here and who has many fixers and contacts, it is under control of Da‘esh (Islamic State) at present so it is unfortunately not possible to go there at the moment… I am very disappointed about this as it really seemed to be a very interesting place to visit. I am scared that those bastards will destroy it all, as the Taliban destroyed the Buddha statues in Afghanistan when they were at power. The frontline from is only 8 kilometres from Nimrud, I have great hopes that the Peshmerga or Iraqi forces will push the fuckers away so that I can have a look at that city one day! Insha’Allah, as people here say…

 

A Syrian family from Kobanê arrived in Erbil 15 days ago, and were squatting an abandoned building next to where we are living in Ainkawa, a district of Erbil. The little boy from the family came to us two days ago and asked us for help, so we went there to give that family food, supplies, blankets, a heater and a cooker plus a piece of carpet so that they would not have to sleep on the cement floor anymore. We even brought them wooden pallets so that they can put them in front of the holes in all the walls. Yesterday when we went back there with Tom, the family had left… We don’t really know where they are gone, maybe to a proper camp, but hopefully to a better place. Situations like this happen every day in Erbil, and that’s why it’s very important for us to help them as much as we can. I will be gone in two weeks from now, and I’m not really sure yet if I will ever come back to Iraq, but there is still so much work to be done for those people..!

 

Pensées pour mon père actuellement hospitalisé. Remets toi bien mon bon Jean-Loup. Je pense fort à toi !

 

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Day 36 – Life in Iraqi Kurdistan

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

 

 

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#BuyaABlanket

RisePoster1 RisePoster2
ENGLISH VERSION
Dear all,
Winter is coming to Kurdistan, Iraq, where 1.2 million people have been displaced this year by the consequences of the war. A real war. Real people. One province of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Dohuk, hosts more than 820,000 displaced people. A lot of good work is happening, but the response is being overwhelmed by the sheer number of people seeking help.
We are working very hard to provide blankets to those families who will suffer hardest from the cold. To this end, we are about to launch an online campaign. Every £6.50/$10 USD you give will provide a high quality blanket to a family in need.
Rise Foundation has a small team of international staff, working alongside local volunteers and on-site coordinators. We favour a hands on, field based approach wherever possible, allowing us to respond quickly and appropriately to problems as they develop.
The campaign is scheduled to launch on Thursday 30th October.
We want to launch simultaneously so that this campaign trends on social media around the world, especially the #BuyABlanket hashtag.
– 6am Los Angeles
– 9am, New York
– 2pm London
– 5pm Baghdad
– 12am (midnight) Sydney
If you are not able to share this at a certain time, please feel free to share it at any time.
How can you help:
1. We ask for you to help us share this on your social networks
#BuyaABlanket #WinterIsComing @RiseFound
#WinterIsComing, 1.2 million people need your help. For £6.50 @RiseFound can deliver a blanket to a displaced family in need #BuyABlanket
#WinterIsComing, 1.2 million people need your help. For $10 @RiseFound can deliver a blanket to a displaced family in need #BuyABlanket
2. Donate on the Rise Foundation website http://rise-foundation.org/
 
3. Tell your friends and family.
Thank you very much for your support, I hope that you can help us.
Kind regards,

Xavier-Loup

VERSION FRANÇAISE

RisePoster1_fr RisePoster2_fr

Chers tous

L’hiver arrive en Irak, et plus spécialement au Kurdistan où 1,2 Million de personnes ont été déplacées cette année des conséquences de la guerre. Une vraie guerre, avec de vrais gens. Dohuk, l’une des provinces de la Région autonome du Kurdistan Irakien accueille à ce jour 820 000 personnes déplacées. De bonnes choses sont organisées pour elles via les différentes associations internationales ou locales, mais nous sommes actuellement submergés par le nombre de personnes nous appelant à l’aide.

Nous travaillons dur de façon à fournir des couvertures pour toutes ces familles qui s’apprêtent à endurer de nouvelles souffrances avec le froid qui les menace. A cette fin, nous nous préparons à faire une campagne en ligne pour les aider. Chaque $10 (8€) que vous nous donnerez nous permettra de fournir une épaisse couverture à une famille dans le besoin et à les protéger de l’hiver.

Rise Foundation est une petite équipe de volontaires internationaux, travaillant également avec des associations locales et différents coordinateurs de plus grandes associations internationalement reconnues (UNHCR, ACTED, ACF etc). Nous favorisons une action basée sur l’approche, dès qu’elle est possible, qui nous permette de répondre rapidement et efficacement aux problèmes tels qu’ils se développent.

Le début de la campagne est planifiée pour le Jeudi 30 octobre 2014.

Nous aimerions la lancer simultanément partout dans le monde de façon à obtenir un impact médiatique des plus importants et des résultats qui nous permettront d’atteindre un maximum de personnes. Le hashtag #BuyABlanket a été créé pour cette occasion.

– 06h à Los Angeles

– 09h à New-York

– 14h à Londres

– 15h à Paris

– 17h à Bagdad

– Minuit à Sidney

Si vous êtes dans l’incapacité de partager notre initiative à ce moment précis, sentez vous libre de le faire par la suite à n’importe quel moment !

Comment pouvez-vous aider:

1. En partageant sur vos réseaux sociaux l’annonce concernant notre campagne

https://www.facebook.com/RISEFoundation1

https://twitter.com/RiseFound

#BuyABlanket #WinterIsComing @RiseFound

#WinterIsComing, 1,2 million de réfugiés ont besoin de votre aide. Pour 8€, @RiseFound peut distribuer une couverture à une famille dans le besoin #BuyABlanket

2. En faisant un don sur le site de Rise Foundation http://rise-foundation.org/

3. Parlez-en autour de vous (entreprises, amis, famille)

Merci beaucoup pour votre soutien, en espérant que vous pourrez nous aider.

Bien à vous,

Xavier-Loup

Day 21 – Life in Iraqi Kurdistan

Day 21 – Life in Iraqi Kurdistan

October 27th 2014

Today i started my third week in Kurdistan and, the funny thing about it is that i’m also starting my second week as an immigrant, as my visa expired. I am currently waiting for my permanent residency card, and hopefully I will get it soon !

Rain has stopped in Erbil. The sun is back, but nights are getting colder day after day ! But at least the camps are not flooded anymore.

So, this week started with a photo exhibition in French Institute of Erbil. I went with my team worker Tom and met couple of known-faces over there. The exhibition was nice, and so was the buffet. I got to know Mr Ambassador, and most of all, got provided access to the library. As I have already read the two books I brought with me, I need to find some more books ! 🙂

Most of my week tasks was about moving stuff from Rise’s Dream City house to a new house in Ainkawa (the Christian area where Rise Foundation is moving its office to). Some food distributions also, but this week has been quite easy going to be honest. On friday we went to Akre camp once again for the Castle Art project, and I would not be able to explain why, but I have enjoyed that precise day more than any other so far ! Well, maybe because I really like those kids, but I was in a good mood, so were they, and all the way to get there was a fun trip. We even gave a lift to a hitch hiking peshmerga (Kurdish soldier) until Akre ! That’s kind of a cool experience.

It was very sunny and warm in Akre, and on Friday we were painting the playground next to the camp. As it usually happens, each volunteer receives a group of children he has to take care of, and my two girls were so kind and easy-going that it was easy for me to go around and talk with everybody. And then the little miracle happened. After a cupple of minutes I was talking with dozens of kids which were all so nice, and willing to learn anything I could teach them. Some of them were surprinsingly speaking a very good english, and would translate to the others my answers to their questions. After half an hour I had so many kids surrounding me ! And I began to teach them some english, first the numbers, I can tell now that they are nearly all about to count until ten, then we had a lesson about how to name parts of the body, about what surround them, trees, trucks, cars, sky, sun, earth. And in return they taught me what it meant in Kurdish. A perfect sharing time which I’m not about to forget !

By the end of the afternoon we went with Tom visiting a friendly family of his, and they were very happy because they finally got their asylum granted for Sweden ! ( Tack Sverige ! ). 300 hundred families are living in Akre, and thousands in the whole Kurdistan and most of them are looking for a better place where to live, so we can say that this family is very lucky as it’s very hard for all the refugees to get granted such a nice place where to go to !

On saturday, the weather was so amazing that I decided to go for a bike trip in the mountains, north east from Erbil. A 60 kms away from here starts the Safin mountain with a 1200 peak, and an astonishing view on both sides of the valley ! Definitly worth it to go, nature, fresh air and great shepherd to be met ! With Tom and Campbell (New Zeland guy that arrived a cupple of days ago) we plan to make another trip to Dukan lake, 120 kms from here. I’m really looking forward to it !

Today (monday) we received a first hundred blankets for the Kobane refugees, and we are expecting thousands more to come and to be distributed within the next weeks !

About the situation in Kurdistan at the moment, there is still not much happening. Zummar, a city in North West of Kurdistan has been taken back by the Peshmergas forces, and Kurds are now three cities from Mossoul, so it’s quite good news ! If everything goes well, there might be some evolution of the situation within the next weeks/months. Though the Sindjar area is still under a very strong blocus by ISIS, and thousands of Yezidi families are still stuck in the mountains..

Please have a look at the most recent pictures, and feel free to share this blog ! And if you want to help us with our work here, you can still make a donation on Rise Foundation’s website !

Greetings to you all ! Xavier-Loup

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Day 14 – Iraqi Kurdistan

Day 14 – Iraqi Kurdistan

October 20 th 2014

It has been two weeks now that I arrived in Iraq ! Life goes on, weather is changing, work remain to be the same, and helping refugees is still our main purpose of being here. Though this week it was a different kind of work we had to do as we had to make a fundraising for winter projects in the camps. That mean evening spent with fancy rich people, conference about the action of our organisation, and crossing fingers that companies or people would make a donation in order for us to buy supplies for the refugees. And so far it worked out pretty well, we have a budget for buying blankets and making food distributions in some camps.

Weather is changing a lot here, and quickly. When I arrived it was 35°c and very dry air, the last days there were daily thunderstorms and heavy rain. Luckily we have a roof over our heads, but this is unfortunatelly not the case for everyone in Kurdistan at the moment, and a lot of the tents from Khanki camp which we visited the other day, are now completely flooded… And the weather probably won’t evolve any better before a cupple of days at least. If I would be a believer I would make a pray for all those people, but I believe the only thing I can do today is to help in a more effective way by being present for those refugees that are now soaked wet.

Rise Foundation is moving its office and guest house to Ainkawa, the Christian area of Erbil, so this week we also had to make a half move out and hlf move in, as our contract for the current house ends at the end of the month. Work is on progress, but so far we’re all very happy and excited about the new house !

Heavy rain so, for sure not the best weather for riding a motorbike, but between two drops of water, I manage to visit some different areas and to ride around the city. It was only the 2nd time I was sitting on a bike, but after one day and with the good advices of Tom that also has one, I now manage with the gears, and it’s all good. A pure fun even ! I hope the rain will soon stop, first of all for all the refugees, but also because I would like to make a little trip in the mountains in the north of the country !

Today (monday 14th) we went to Gawilan camp (half way from Erbil to Mossul), met the manager and discussed about the most urgent needs for the refugees. Clothes ! As most of the people that fled from ISIS left with nothing else than the clothes they were wearing that day (and it was summer season), they are all suffering from cold at the moment, so we plan to make a clothing distribution next week.

In between two clouds, a little halo of sun on the other side of the desertic landscape. Behind the refugee camp, a hill, ten or fifteen kilometers from where my feet are touching the muddy ground, a hill that is run by the ennemies of Humanity. There, begins Islamic State territory. There, begins terror and destruction. And that single thought causes me cold sweat.

If you’re following the news at the moment, you have heard about Kobane, and the current situation… In Gawilan camp, it’s already 600 families that arrived last month from the martyr city of Syrian Kurdistan. And we are expecting the same amount of people to arrive within the next two weeks (in that single camp, and there are hundreds of camps in Kurdistan, so make your math).

About Kobane, if I only have one opinion about it, it is that Turkish government is making everything in order to hinder the Kurds, and this for a few reasons. First of all because YPG, the Kurdish fighters of Kobane are associated with PKK (the Kurdish fighters from Turkish side) and tboth are considered as terrorists organisation, by Turkey, but also by US and EU. Are you still following ? Erdogan (Turkish Islamo-conservative president) even said, « ISIS or PKK, for us it’s the same thing. »

Turkish army is all along the border with Kobane, with tanks and soldiers, watching the show going on. Dozens of journalists and reporters are daily reporting about the martyr of this city, and still no one is doing NOTHING. Geopolitics is not something easy, but when you understand the area, when you have notions about who’s with whom nor against whom, when everything is suppose to work out, but when nothing actually does, you feel just so useless and stupid being here, not being able to do nothing for them. Only watching stupidely this incredibly absurd situation.

Good point though, yesterday we were in Erbil and over our heads we heard and saw a massive plane which none of us reckon to be of any airline companies. To me it looked like one of those massive bomber plane from second world war which I have seen so many times in documentaries. This morning when we read the news we found out that this big plane actually was a US Army plane transporting weapons, ammos and supplies which were parachuted to the fighters of Kobane. Hopefully this will give them hope and help to hold the situation for a cupple of days, weeks more maybe …

We are not living on a pink and fancy cloud, that’s for sure. World is a piece of shit in some areas, and I can tell about it. But still I’m fine myself, I have a family and friends, I live in a country which has not been in war (on its territory at least) for over 70 years. I eat and drink whenever I need or want to, and I have a roof over my head tonight. But my stay over here teach me how difficult and complex some people’s life can evolve in just a few days. Optimism has alsways been my strenght, and I still have a shiny smile over my face today. I’m missing you all though 🙂

Xavier-Loup

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Day 8

Day 8

Loads of stuff done for the past days, and for sure more big days ahead ! Everything is still fine for me, but since friday a lot happened, as we’ve been in a few areas in Kurdistan, visited many refugees camps, and drove through a lot of places ! First of all, as I was saying in my last post, we went to Akre camp site for the Castle Art Project. And that was a really great time which all of us enjoyed I am sure !

Friday : Akre’s camp is a massive concrete block which use to be Saddam’s military base in the area and is now visited weekly by Rise Foundation:) We don’t provide food nor supplies in that camp especially, but we like to entertain the kids which are half of the population of the camp, by painting the walls. – Look at the pictures of what has been done down the article – Each of the volunteers received an assigned kid and had to supervise what they are doing, watching carefully that they are not painting bad stuff mainly;) A few hours later, there was 50 cartoons painted by from 8 to 15 years old Syrian refugees with a lot of colors, smiles and happiness which means a lot for us, and for them first of all of course ! If of course we could do some food distribution instead of that, there are other bigger associations with more funds that are already in charge with that. But to provide happy time to children that are stuck in a camp for over a few years for some of them, that has no price !

Saturday was free day for us. We drove a few hours until near the border of Iran in Rawanduz to visit some caves. Interesting day, more relaxed than the others, and where I really get to know my other working partners, which I can now say that they became good friends. Beautiful Kurdistan, landscapes, people, clothes and nature. Beside all the durts that people are throwing away everywhere, and the ugly architecture of the brick houses, it was really enjoyable. And for me, to be so close to Iran again meant a lot, as so far in a 5 years of traveling all around the planet, this country remains to be my favorite:)

Sunday. Tough day. Emotionally strong, and even if I was prepared for it, visiting a refugee camp that is so massive that you can’t see the end of it from your own eyes, isn’t the most happy time you could have over here. We drove all the way to Dohuk, one of the biggest city of Kurdistan, met the local governor who explained us about the situation, and especially about what he needs most of all. A very interesting meeting as the guy seem to be really into his job, and he is doing an incredible one, and for sure not of the easiest, as coordinating, feeding, and supplying half a million of refugees is not an easy task.

On our way to Dohuk, most of the non-finished buildings are now inhabited by refugees from Syria or Iraq. Kurdish mainly, but also Arabs families and a lot of Yezidis ! The camp we visited that day is Khanki (or Khanke), and is over populated by 65.000 yezidis people that flad from ISIS in august. If you remember about the Sindjar crisis, the yezidis which is a minority of Iraq (500 thousands more or less) were hunted, murdered and expelled from their villages. And if the PKK (Turkish Kurdish Milicia) would not have saved them, they would all have been murdered by ISIS.

During the day we spent in Khanki, we took a lot of pictures, we spoke to many people, and hear some very strong testimonies from families that fled. I will not write here so much about it as those stories are very strong, and very hard to handle once you’ve been told. But I will tell you that all those people had to flee with nearly nothing, no clothes, no food, no water, no papers for most of them as ISIS progresses in Sindjar in august was very fast. All those people, and you might have heard about them in the news as all the medias were focused on them during 2 weeks or something, had to hide in the mountains, and walk on hundreds of kilometers under a 50°c hit. For a majority of those yezidis, they have lost close friends or members of their families, the men systematically killed, the women raped and sold as slaves on Mosul market.

Among all those refugees, a massive cloud of childrens are constantly surrounding us, very smily kids, some with incredible bright eyes (like the Afghan girl with blue eyes from Steve McCurry picture). Some are traumatized from what they have lived, but most of them are really kind, always trying to talk with us, cutely holding our hands, or trying to climb you as little monkeys:)

Temperature in Kurdistan is still fine, but winter is very strong here, and in less than one month, all those kids, all those families and all those people are going to suffer very hard from the cold. I hope that my presence here will help at least some of them to survive from the terrible situation and conditions which they are currently facing…

We spent the night at Silav’s place, a Kurdo-American girl who helped us during those 2 days with her friend Amy (British) for the translation with the locals.

Monday : Now we are going to another city of Kurdistan, closer to Syria and Turkey, called Zakho. Over there, same shitty situation, but no camp. Just refugees living in miserable condition in non-finished buildings, in parks, and in schools. This last place is actually a major problem for Kurdistan and its local inhabitants as most of the children could not go to school this year as the classrooms are full of refugees. Once again, visiting camps, talking with people, asking them what they need at most, and meeting local coordinators. Productive two days, but I would become crazy if I had to do that everyday, as it’s really not easy to handle the looks of thousands of people asking and claiming for help, all at the same time.

Back to Erbil.

Tuesday :

I bought a motorbike !

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