Wow! What a Ride!

" Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, totally worn out, loudly proclaiming " Wow, What a ride!" Hunter S. Thompson.

Today was kind of a broadside skid. Actually many are, but this was a major skid.

It started as most days do, simply, with work. Checking out the new construction for the trauma centre inside the camp. Which in very simple English reads this way, going to see if anyone turned up consider it was raining. Guess the answer.

Salaam, being a man of peace, was working. No one else was.

The framework was in place...

No sign of crew but then they could be working on the inside from inside. Did I really believe that?

Today was the Karajal fast day. Me n the lads decided on the spur of the moment to head towards the mountain where Yezidi families were flocking to pray. Just a quick looksee thing.

And on the way Mr Saad and I got rabbiting. As we usually do. This time about sheeps. So we decided to leave the community at large to pray on the top of the freezing cold mountain. We headed elsewhere. On a mission.

So part of our rabbiting began because Mr Saad had been thinking. Yes dangerous business. As a result of his thinking he related an old Shingali tradition.

That of protocol when purchasing a vehicle. We had just purchased a shiny black one which Mr Saad had been busy polishing with loving touch since sunrise. He was most happy to inform me that we should now go and buy a sheeps.

We went. This one could read my mind, he was daring me to buy him. I knew he would give me hell. He thereby gained another day on earth.

Dear reader, please understand the time elapse between camp, and mountain and now village and sheeps. These decisions have to simmer slowly. Though my decision kind of skidded in and that was it.

We purchased Rami. I swear he knew his day was here. I petted him and stroked him and most sincerely apologized to him. And told him about protocol of vehicle purchase. He looked at me as if to say, ' I know, I was born to die," and laid down quietly and closed his eyes.

I knew, having been adopted by the Querene tribe, that I was about to enter the world of sheep slaughter in true Shinagli style. . I had already vetoed and forbidden our Walati village tradition of throwing eggs at the car.When he suggested, I gave Mr Musa, one of those withering looks which said " You do that man, you go straight to the car wash thank you very much " Needless to say he backed off and some fifty eggs were returned to the egg man.

Mr Saad and I, however continued our rabbiting about the purchase and slaughter of a sheeps. I was the one who had to purchase. The male sheeps had to be slaughtered outside my front door and I had to put my right hand under the neck of the sheeps from where the blood would spurt, and then smear that blood upon the vehicle as a protection from death...causing and being killed through an accident.( May I say here that the cynic in me would simply say, quit letting 13 year old drive vehicles without any license and we won't have accidents. )

And yes I did it. It made sense to me as a Jew. We slaughtered a sheep and smeared its blood over the door posts of our homes as a sign to the Angel of Death to pass over our house. As Jews, we know blood. Or let me amend and say, we knew.

And somehow I was able to do this. It was not required of me, but it pulled together the threads of destiny of two people groups. . The Yezidis from Shingal and our ancient forefathers who comprehended the meaning of bloodshed and the sacrifice of an animal for the household.

Having done that, new students turned up early for registration for the January semester and helped Mr Saad with the preparation of our now dead as dodo Rami. Half the village turned up, whether to see the vehicle or me covered in sticky blood is hard to decide.

Then the team came back from a freezing War City. Mr Musa was busy cooking Rami, Dr Happy took a part of him over the road to the grill man to be grilled. If you are tempted to ask , which part, don' this time I had checked out of the sheeps story and was looking for goat cheese.

At that auspicious moment, the phone rang to say that one of Our Girls was rescued, and now safely in Shingal and would be back at 11 in the morning, would we like to come and welcome her..would we ever!! We let out some whoops of joy and then sat down around our yellow table.

Tired, happy and hungry we all entered into a jolly good feast ( ?) and with that my skid came to its natural halt. Was dirty, worn out, and raised a toast to Wow, What a ride!!

Life in the Village. It's got many skid tracks.

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Shariya Camp, Dohuk, Northern Iraq |

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