A fire broke out last Monday at 2.00 am in Shariya camp. As you all know by now, fires are terrifying particularly due to the crowded, cramped situation of the camp enabling fire to spread, well, like wildfire, igniting gas balloons outside the tents causing mass disaster. Thankfully this fire was “limited” to the destruction of eight tents, eight families and the little acquired during the past ten years. The very little acquired amounted to food and clothes, and a few children’s toys.
At daybreak, our team including medical staff went to the tents to assess both the material loss and damage and emotional/mental trauma. Folks were broken and scared, yet relieved to be alive as all were asleep at that time. It's yet another heavy blow at the start of the cruel winter, the worst of which lies ahead in the months of January and February. We committed to purchasing a fridge, stove and washing machine (our local brand is very simple and small) for each family, which we delivered later in the week.
We are grateful for your generosity of heart, which enabled us to respond immediately and in a spirit of “open hands” that brought restoration and comfort to all who had suffered loss.
We will be reaching out to the families (along with other vulnerable tent dwellers) yet again at the end of this week, which is the commencement of the Yezidi Winter Holiday, and giving them food packages to help them celebrate and dresses for the women who have not received a new dress in years.
We are asking you to consider helping us make it a Merry Christmas for the rapidly dwindling Syriac Christian community of Avzruk, meaning Yellow Water, which we have helped for the past three years.
It’s a struggle to reach them, way out in the middle of nowhere, still without paved roads, the potholes deepening and widening over the years. Another forgotten community lost in what was the Cradle of Civilization. A community that was once vibrant, that has been swallowed up by lack, of everything, from decent roads to education, food, you name it, they don't have it. They simply hang in…until…
Like the Yezidi community, they too, kill the (non fatted) lamb for the holiday, they too bake bread and make the Christmas cookies but all I can think of is the Christmas carol, “In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.” There is no joy, no merriment, and no apparent rescue from their harsh conditions, abject poverty and desperate attempt to hold on to Christianity when there are no inheritors, no promise of generations to follow in their footsteps.
Abuna Sami, the Father, has never called asking for help, but by the beginning of December, he is firmly planted in our mind, as knowing their dearth, we desire to help them. We know that he is worried for his small flock, which dwindles from year to year as the older members die, and some of the younger leave looking for a future elsewhere. They are struggling to remain, to continue to possess their ancient lands. The Abuna knows, that once they leave, their lands will be taken and their inheritance in Iraq obliterated as if they never existed.
On the afternoon of December 21, we will take 30 food boxes to the village, one per family, each box containing several kilos of rice, pasta, flour, lentils, sugar, tomato paste, techina, chickpeas, tea, and fresh chicken. Each food package costs $45.
Our wonderful Sewing Hope director, Mr. Payiz is busy with his Yezidi ladies sewing Christmas stockings which hopefully will brighten up the darkness of their Christmas morning. We will stuff these stockings with candy and nuts, just a little extra touch of care.
We are busy producing a small gift for the children, a simple mug with their picture. Simple, small but hopefully something personal that will show them that they are remembered, and bring them joy.
We would value your help not just to provide food for Christmas but to keep this community alive and positioned on its land. We are hoping for enough funds to commit to supplying their Easter 2024 provisions when we go in a few days.
We pray for both these forgotten and marginalized communities; we pray to bring them a message of comfort and joy in these dark days. May they know that they are remembered and carried in our hearts.
Can you help?
Your kindness and generosity enable us to act quickly and where the need is most.