On Wednesday I and two team members made a “flying” trip to the mountains and the tiny village of Kani Spi. This was a 10 hour return trip for a 2 hour conversation to confirm plans for an accompaniment in this village. We had spent a night there with the delegation early in April. At that time we had a discussion with Kaka M. the head of the village re possibly coming back for an extended stay during planting season. This is one time of the year when shells/bombs come over the mountains from Iran.
This tiny village has to contend with these bombs coming very close to their home, as well as fields of land mines surrounding the fields that they cultivate. They must be very vigilant of their children and livestock in order to avoid tragedy.
At our first discussion he suggested that planting usually starts around 20 May. Then approximately 35 families arrive back into the village. Most of them set up stone foundations covered by tarps in which to live until the end of October. During these months they work hard in the vegetable fields and live in their beloved mountains.
When the rockets/shells come over the mountains, those with children usually flee back down to the city. Others find shelter under rocks and in caves. The bombing tends to happen during the night or early morning hours. Our role of accompaniment would not offer any respite from the bombs. We would be there as documenters that this really does occur. We would photograph, video and write about what it is like to have one’s ancestral lands frequently bombarded by a neighboring country.
I was really looking forward to the chance to live in this village. It is so gorgeous up there in the mountain air and the Kani (mountain spring) water is clear and cold. I had wanted a chance to interact with the villagers and to talk and play with the many children. However, I knew this was going to be a huge stretch for me too. I would be required to use an outhouse type squat toilet, cook over an open fire and sleep in a temporary structure for days at a time, never mind trying desperately to understand the cultural expectations while not understanding the language. Thus, the tinge of relief when we heard that the late spring rains (very excellent for the farmers) had set the planting back a week or so, and that they would like the team to come the day before I leave.
I will include some photos of our 10 hour (return) trip to Kani Spi including a couple of adventures we had along the way.
We took a shortcut through the city of Soran. This is what we faced just minutes before the intersection with highway. It was suggested that drivers in the West Bank face these berms of dirt much more frequently than Kurdish drivers do but with careful driving the car made it over.
This is one of the mountains that the shells/rockets/bombs come over.
The view from the yard of Kaka M's house. The Kurdish word for mountain is sharkh. That is easy to remember as the peaks due look a little like fins.
Red poppies (gul soor) are in bloom all over the roadsides and foothills.
One of the beauties.
These are the goats/sheep that we did not hit. We also did not hit the lone goat who crossed at dusk either, but she almost became part of the grill of the car.