30 July, 2016
Another very full week has gone by. Some of you who are on Facebook with me, have seen few pictures from the three day trip my teammates and I took along the northeastern Iraqi border with Iran. In the next few days my teammates and I will be writing articles sharing more details about these situations, but I wanted to send you now a quick general update.
We visited a family who had left the land they were farming and moved into town after Iranian forces shelled and firebombed the area about a month ago, burning their tent home and other structures and wide areas of land, and displacing many other families. Some of their children are still traumatized by what they experienced. We then went to the valley where they had been, saw the damage, and talked to another man who decided to stay there and tend their crops.
In another valley we visited in that area, about 20 families still remain, even after three of their children were injured by shrapnel and many were also traumatized by the frequent attacks. These are families who live in other towns in the region, but every spring through fall, come here to graze their sheep and goats. This is their sole source of income, so they find it hard to leave. Children gathered around us and the women showed us inside their tents.
In another district we visited two villages that we had visited years ago when they were being continually shelled, but for the past several years they have not had attacks. I enjoyed having them remember me from our past visits, and seeing the contrast between their life under fear of attacks and now in relative peace. (I plan to write more about this soon).
In this area, near the Iranian border, the attacks are from Iran. Soon our team will also visit the areas along the Turkish border where Turkey is bombing Iraqi Kurdish villages even more heavily than what Iran is doing here.
It was between these visits that we rented a cabin for an overnight, along a beautiful rushing stream in the mountains, and was able to spend some time by the stream, the next morning, remembering Art, since it was the sixth anniversary of his death. The beauty helped refresh my sprit for the rest of our journey.
Thank you all for your loving thoughts and prayers, Peggy Gish