I love to watch the sun rise from my rooftop, to watch my neighbors faithfully tend to the one sheep or goat, to look at the village as it wakes up, or not... summer, no school, everyone stays asleep locked away from the heat. This morning brought clouds. I was hopeful, maybe they indicated the much longed for drop in temperature but no, the thermometer was already settling on 40c with the promise of another 5 degrees to come. Still those clouds were there. That means something.
Our student family talks about the weather a lot, "we need to change our weather, the weather in the camp is bad." They actually mean "mood" or "atmosphere" and as I paid attention to my clouds this morning, we pay attention when we hear them talk about "their weather." These are times when schedules have to be put aside as we hear their voice which reflects their very real needs. This week just prior to the seventh memorial of the Yezidi genocide, with still at least 3000 women missing, children born in captivity now scattered, and the fate of many men still undetermined, is a rough week to say the least. We have teens with more energy than a Duracell battery, who bounce through our gates at 08.00 and are still pounding their footballs at 20.00, and we have an endless stream of broken women, young ones in particular, who come stating clearly their plan to kill themselves prior to August the 3rd. The atmosphere is emotionally super charged. The weather is hot, we are on constant alert. We have stationed "watchers" and "catchers" around our campus. Yesterday we opened (and emptied) our storeroom to give 30 new fridges to widows who had survived captivity. Amongst the signing of paperwork, you would hear my quiet instructions "orange scarf is going down, catch her, pink scarf going down, catch her, green scarf on the ground, bring water." Our nurse Jazea has to be present even at distributions for this very reason, the psychotic fainting episodes which are part of our weather. Noori, our psychologist is working around the clock, basically on a suicide prevention watch.
Amidst our plans and prep for August 3rd, prep which has kept us working on site till midnight nearly every night this past week, we paid attention to the requests of our kids and decided to give them their much needed change of weather, taking them to a local river for swimming and picnic where the girls entered the water for the first time in their lives.
“The weather in the camps is bad, it is always bad but even more so right now. We don't go anywhere, no one apart from Springs of Hope takes us out, there is no way to escape this bad weather. We spend most of our time in our tents, so our thinking becomes introverted and negative. The picnic was a wonderful day out. I really look forward to our picnic days which help us all to relax, to be at peace and change our weather. Right now, it was more important than ever to come to the river, to listen to the water, to be with our friends with the time to sit and talk in an atmosphere of peace. By the time I went home my weather had changed, the day out gave me strength for the coming week.” - Huda
“It was a great picnic, thank you for taking us out. The timing was so important as we are approaching both August 3rd, and August 15 (the massacre in my village of Kojo) and we were all in a bad place psychologically. The weather in the camps is so bad right now, everyone is thinking about bad things, so to bring us all here to the water, with all of our friends from the other camps, was such a gift to us. We played in the water for the first time ever, we laughed, played games, danced, took many photos, ate good food, it was such a great day. We all totally changed our weather and returned renewed and refreshed.” - Yesra