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In which I fail to convey how special Kurdistan is

Posted Mar 02 2013 10:04pm

So. Where to start with Kurdistan.

The city of Erbil is growing, growing, with building work everywhere. Here’s the view from my apartment.

I’ve never been anywhere which isn’t a tourist destination before. It was good to be part of a world, however briefly.

(And oh, so good to have the sun on my skin, although the locals laughed at me in my summer gear as they stood around in 70 degree temperatures in their anoraks.)

Being in a place where everyone has a war story, which they tell (if at all) lightly, is profoundly humbling.

I visited the longest continually inhabited place on earth. Someone has been living in this citadel for the thick end of 7,000 years. As I walked through it, I felt very small, but in a warm and happy way. I had the sense of being a leaf on a tree in a vast forest.

The people I worked with were generous, questioning and kind, and challenged me to be a better trainer and made me laugh and laugh. One of the delegates took this picture of me during the last session. I think it says a lot.

I met a Kurdish family who were gloriously welcoming and warm; I had one of my favourite evenings ever with them.

I don’t have pictures of the dolma and baklava that formed most of my diet when I was there; I don’t have pictures of the busy bazaar or the frankly insane traffic or the way that people looked at me, a western blonde out of context, with frank curiosity and friendliness. Perhaps I’ll remember to take those next time. I really hope there will be a next time.

February 28, 2013
filed in Life is Good
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