On August 3rd, we walked through the Gate of New Beginnings. On August 14 we began Building Hope, the construction of block homes inside Shariya Camp.
We had been in a narrow, constrained place for a while, participating in endless meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Directorate of Duhok, the Director of Migration and Crisis Control and the Barzani Charity Foundation. Suddenly all wheels moved in unity, and within a few hours we had gathered the wonderful Yezidi men who built our stables, and appointed them as project contractors
As I write on Friday morning, all of our workers have given up their one day of rest to remain on site in the camp and maintain the momentum of building. Shex Daoud our builder is there along with Mr Hassan the plaster man. Two of our students whom we pay “day labor” were in place at 5 am, along with Sarbast the electrician, Rezan the roof guy. The door and window man will come this afternoon. Two of our staff are working round the clock, we appointed Khero to be Site Manager, and Bashiq to be Project Manager. We are all stretched and willing to be stretched for this cause.
By the time that you read this, we will be within completion of 11 homes and preparing for the next “batch” of homes. Due to very real fear from the authorities regarding possible arson attempts, even rioting within the camp, we have been requested only to build two homes at a time drawing as little attention as possible to our work. Although there have been physical restrictions on our work, there is a wideness and broadness within our building site. We end this week with very grateful hearts at the honor afforded us to help rebuild shattered lives in this tangible way.
For this reason, I will not be elaborating on stories this week, or sharing recipients’ names. This will happen in due course. We have respected the social media ban imposed upon us though hope that soon we will be able to share publicly. We respectfully ask that this email not be shared or forwarded without our express permission as we wish to remain in good standing with all the government offices so as to be able to continue to Build Hope.
We are still receiving donations for Building Hope in Shariya Camp and our list of requests from ISIS survivors is growing by the day. The one sentence that has been repeated by everyone, is closer to a collective sigh of relief, “Now I will be able to sleep, I have kept myself awake since the June 2021 fire from fear that we will be burned alive, that it will be my tent next time.”
Some of our kids, whom we affectionately call The Boys from Baghouz have burst into our office trying out their first experiment in English, “Blocks. Thanks. Blocks. Thanks.” Such expressions of joy have been like rain to our tired beings at the end of 16 hours working on site. Such words make it worth it all. The most wonderful words ever.
Oh and some of the Mourning Mums are prancing through piles of cement and blocks plying us with cold water, and with the boldest of smiles planning how to arrange their new home.