Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My body is in Winnipeg; don't quite know where my head is...

I arrived home 4 days ago. I say that I am home, but when I was away, I still did not feel like Winnipeg was home yet. But Vic is here, so I guess that is where home is!! It feels a little lonely here in the house all by myself all day. Despite the occasional glitches in living with a team, I really enjoyed the community life.

When I left Sulimaneya the temperature was around 40 C. The concrete blocks of the house absorbed this heat very well. The walls of my bedroom felt like a bread oven. I was sleeping on the roof for the last week to try to catch a breath of coolness. On a couple of those nights I heard the cacophony of the celebrations for the PUK (ruling political party in the Suli region). Honking, screeching, yelling, whooping, fireworks, and gunshots (assumably into the air as there were no reports re injuries or deaths). Sleeping in the open air brings the sounds ever so much clearer than even a room with a big wide open window.

Our team avoided the celebrations. For one thing, we were not sure of the safety of being on the streets, and we were absolutely sure that we did not want to observe the anniversary of this organisation that shot with live ammunition on its own people who were demonstrating nonviolently.

On the way back to Canada I spent 5 days with Janelle in the Netherlands. The weather there was delightful with sun and cool breezes. I met her future in-laws, Ellen and Willem in Zwolle and we roamed that delightful little city. We also had the privilege of taking a look at the hidden Mennonite church where Janelle and Lauren's wedding celebration will be held.

This is a hidden church because it began during the time when it was not acceptable to be a Mennonite in the Netherlands. The outer facade looks just like a house. Rumor has it that the built-in benches around the sides were for the men. They could easily get out to protect the women and children if the police came. (I am not sure how they did this in a nonviolent way.)

Then, the next day, Janelle and I headed to Schoorl, which is on the sea. The Doopsgezind Brodederschapshuis Schoorl ( Mennonite Guest House) is her community for six months. Here she works hard cleaning guest rooms and helping out in the kitchen in return for room, board and a small stipend.

She took the 5 days off so we roamed the area on borrowed bikes and had a nap on the beach.

 I bought a few bike accessories which one can only find in a country with millions of bikes. The time here was refreshing and a space to begin to bring my head into the same sphere as my body.

We spent the last day roaming Amsterdam. We both were not in the head space to seek out museums and tourist attractions so we spent the whole day sitting in outdoor cafes and watching the people, bikes and boats of the city go by.


Sitting with daughter Janelle along an Amsterdam canal
I still have a few blog posts in the works with stories of a few of the friends of CPT in Northern Iraq.

But for now I will include a message from CPT head office. Please take a moment to consider if you would be able to help CPT out at this time.

CPTnet14 June 2011
CPT INTERNATIONAL: Projects face cutting as donations lag
Wars continue to boil. Occupations char the land. Nonviolent uprisings
sizzle with hope. CPTers stand side by side with peacemakers in those hot
places.
During the first six months of this fiscal year, donations to CPT from
individuals were down 20% from last year. We have managed to keep our
already trim expenses lower. But, overall, CPT is now US $67,000 behind our
budget projection for this point in the year. If donations do not increase
in the coming months, important project work will need to be cut. CPT's
operations are already very lean. The on-site and travel budget for the
Iraq or Colombia projects is roughly 67,000 for the year. That amount also
roughly covers the expenses of four full-time CPTers for a year. Can you
help heat up the donations during these warm months?
Doug Pritchard and Carol Rose
Click here to donate <http://www.cpt.org/participate/donate>  OR
Send a cheque to the appropriate office noted below.  If you like, you could put mention my name and it would go toward my work here in Kurdish Northern Iraq.

USA OFFICE: Box 6508 · Chicago, IL 60680-6508 · · E-mail: peacemakers@cpt.org
CANADA OFFICE: 25 Cecil St, Unit 307 · Toronto ON M5T 1N1 · E-mail: canada@cpt.org