(Photo caption: One of the many Unexploded Ordinances (UXO) that remain littered around the base of Halgurd, Iraq’s second highest mountain standing at 3608m (12,000 ft).
Friday, July 15, 2016
Today, my second day on the Iraqi-Kurdistan team, is a “free day,” (every Friday and Saturday, the weekend here), has been relaxing for me. I have been visiting with other teammates, resting, reading, brushing up on my Kurdish language, and catching up on correspondence that got put on the shelf in the rush of getting ready for this trip. So, even if I am eager to move ahead with the work here, this day of rest has been good for me.
The team now consists of three local Kurdish men who have taken the CPT training given here in Suleimani last year, and will be full time workers on the team, a full-time CPTer, originally from India, who has been working on the Colombia team, but has been here to help the team, but will be leaving in about a week to go back to Colombia, and me. But in a couple days, another woman from the US, who has worked with CPT in Palestine, should be coming to join the team.
I am still being briefed about the current work, and will get more information when we meet all together early next week. At this point, I know that next week several team members will be helping with an Alternatives to Violence (AVP) training for Ezidi youth in a nearby IDP (Internally Displaced Person) Camp, after which we will be spending much time visiting Kurdish Iraqi villages along the border with Turkey to listen and learn about the consequences Turkey’s bombing their villages has meant for them. Along with this work, there may also be times when we visit other displacement and refugee camps along northern Iraq, or villages where international oil companies have been given permission by the government to explore and drill for oil, taking the local farmers’ prime crop land. As all this develops, I hope to send you information and stories about these situations and the people involved or hurt in these events.
Those of you who are also friends with me on Facebook, will also be getting posts and information I will be forwarding from the CPT group in Lesvos, Greece, about the situation with refugees there. This may be confusing, since I won’t be going there until mid-August, but still want to pass on this information.
But for now, I feel grateful for the opportunity to be here, and for your loving support and prayers, which mean a lot to me!