Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hanging out, karaoke and dancing up a storm

Last Friday on our day off the team was invited to a weekly event at the nearest Syrian refugee camp to Sulaimani. Usually a movie is shown to the children, but when we arrived at the camp we were told that there was no electricity so a new plan was formed. The teacher went out a found a large karaoke speaker with rechargeable battery. It came with two cordless microphones so immediately the children were encouraged to sit on the carpet in the large tent that was the school room. Then one by one they came up to share their talents whether that was singing a long song about Syria or making animal noises. I gave a rendition of the song, "I'm a Little Tea pot" along with the actions. Beebo our friend from Bagdahd, translated it  into Arabic so they could know what the crazy lady was doing!

Because Beebo was speaking Arabic to the group I assumed that I had no way of speaking or understanding. It took me awhile to remember  that most of the people there are Syrian Kurds who speak Kurmanji Kurdish dialect  So we did (sort of*) have common language.

*many of the words are different or said differently and of course, my Sorani Kurdish skills are not that great. But it was better than nothing!

The tent that is the school room during week days. It is covered with a huge blue tarp to prevent the heavy winter rains from leaking through.

Gosia  (with the mike) is our CPT intern from Poland. She sang a childhood Polish song.
After many children had stood with the mike and shared their talent the dancing started. But it soon became very warm in the tent so the dancers headed outside to enjoy the sun and blue sky.
The little girl started out being very shy, but Gosia won her over.
The dancing moved from modern jumping type ...

to quite accomplished Kurdish dancing.

One boy who spoke very good English looked at me and then at this little girl and said, "Your faces look just the same." So I had to have a photo taken to see if he was right.

Then, if a person gets tired of dancing, there is always plenty of dirt and sand to dig in.

This was one of the drawings decorating the walls of the school tent. Two days earlier the region had experienced torrential rainfall for two days. This is a fine rendition of what life in the camp would have been like on those days.
A picture of a small part of the camp. Every few tents have toilet to share with water tanks on the room. There are also water stations where tanks are filled by water trucks.
Two days after we visited the camp the "resh ba- black wind" began. I was out walking on the first day of the wind and at times I could hardly stand up. The next day the temperature dropped which along with the wind made the air very cold. I could imagine how uncomfortable it was in those tents with the cold air moving through the cracks and the wind whipping the tarps all around.

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