Tea stop on the bridge over the Great Zab River, between Dohuk and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, late afternoon on the 3rd of December. Tea is made in a kettle, heated over a wooden fire, giving a distinctive taste and smell to the experience. The road to this point had been very good, but soon afterwards deteriotated to become deeply rutted. The tea seller refused to accept any money for his tea, quite typical of the hospitality here. I have seen my driver in the past argue with waiters to take money from him.
While having lunch I chatted with Khitam about her plans to learn English. They were not fully formed. I hijacked the guy who was interpreting for us, and got him to take us to the American University where, as chance would have it, the sister of my good friend teaches English. She soon sorted us out with course dates, and enrolled Khitam for a January start. We had a photograph in front of the Christmas tree; me, Khitam, Hoze, Najla and our driver for the day Zidan Khalaf. The difference between life in the camps and life at this university are profound. We are giving them a real chance for their lives to take a different path.
As red on the inside as the out, Hotel Leipzig was a special place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 24 Nov 2019