My day began just five minutes away from my home in Kurdistan, North Iraq. Inside what is home turf to me, it began in Shariya Camp. Not in our community centre but in home visits. Home being a torn tent for the Yezidi community whose lives and spirits are torn asunder.
I left there with a heavy heart and my mind went straight to the American holiday of Thanksgiving being celebrated around laden tables and crackling fireplaces To be accurate, my mind began to calculate exactly what could be purchased here for the cost of a few turkeys and cranberry sauce. Yes that's what living in an alternative reality does for you...or for me at least.
Later this afternoon we held a graduation party for our other set of kids. The Kids in War who embrace and hold fast to the values of lovefare and peace-making. Kids who are refugees from Syria and Mosul. Kids who dream of being space scientists, lawyers, doctors, pharmaceuticals, engineers, teachers. Kids who have lost all and begun a new life here in Kurdistan. Kids who have the potential to become the future leaders of Kurdistan.
As I watched our Kids in War share with us their weeks of practice at songs, dance and plays showing how our little family, called Springs of Hope Foundation, goes looking for those in need, and brings them in from the streets into family....then my heart, not just my eyes filled with tears, joy and great pride at the same time. I became Thankful.
This is a pictorial tribute to my exceptional team, and to our amazing Kids in War....my Thank You...My life is richer because you have suffered and now allow me to do life with you. My life is fuller because you have lost much and share all that is left with me.
The one and only Sheikh Khalid. The Big Brother of War City. He reminded me today of one question that I asked him way back when we began to fix up our centre.. " Can you as a Yezidi work alongside Muslim kids?" This was his answer. " They are refugees, and I am a refugee. We are the same."
The good Dr Saaed also known as Doctor Happy. And at his happiest he is when building a future of peace with our kids.
Our two Yezidi Big Sisters, Kajin who teaches Computer Science and Sahla who teaches English ...and corrects my English grammar:) Our Kids in War simply adore these two.
Mr Musa ,who is seen around our village late at night running to buy 100 cakes for the next day and then 100 more cos the kids devoured them fast, 100 pita breads, peanut butter, cheese, juice and now milk in winter for our Kids in War who come pretty hungry. All of Shariya Village stocks up for Mr Musa and his food shopping.
And of course, the one and very only, Mr Saad. Another refugee loving on the refugees who in turn love on him. War City ...a city of refuge , a city of healing. For us all.
Last but never least, our beloved Chairman of the Board, Mr Araz who is always ready and willing to pitch in, lend a helping hand, encourage both us and our kids along.. A Chairman who does not sit on a chair but picks his feet up and gets out there with us. Thankful for you dear Araz and all that you bring to our Family.
Thankful. Happy. Honored. Blessed, Privileged. Amazed to be doing life with such heroes of our generation. Humbled to learn from them.
Excessively, passionately proud of these, our Kids in War.
At the close of a long cold day my heart is warm and I have put the cost of the turkeys and pie on hold because I am totally and decidedly Thankful.
With thanks from all of us here at www.springsofhope.foundation.