"It was a joy to serve our friends once again. We spent a day doing a food distribution at two location severing about 60 families. We then visited the soap factory. A Yazidi friend started this company about 2 years ago. They make an olive oil-based soap that helps even my sun and wind blown face like baby skin…not really…but it’s nice. We bought 270 soap bars and now I am going to haul 50 lbs of soap thru two borders and customs hoping not to have them confiscated or taxes at each border…if I make it I’ll let you know how to buy some."
Even though the Yazidis home of the Sinjar province has been freed from ISIS they are not able to return home. To this day many of their homes, the water systems, sewers, electricity grid are badly damaged or destroyed. And even if these things were working there remain foreign militia and governments operating in the area and the religious sect that has persecuted and tried to commit genocide “73 times” and sided with ISIS are living all around their towns.
It was a joy to visit the home of my friend Marwan and his family of 10. Marwan is the uncle of Barivan, who I have interviewed thru these years. Marwan took Barivan into his family when her father was murdered by ISIS in the attack on Sinjar, their home town, and her mother suffered a heart attack and was allowed into Germany for medical care. We spent an a few hours with their family enjoying a time of visiting their home having tea, talking about life…past, present, and future. When our Yazidi friends talk about the future, we keep in mind the current situation, and so do they. Yet they continue to dream and talk about going home, even though at this time it is untenable. They not only do not have the resources to rebuild but also, if they return, they would be murdered.
We also did a follow-on TCD training to help the Yazidi community to make the next steps to improve their lives. We all are coming to the realization they need to make long-term plans to make life happen for their families here in exile.
We visited the town of Halabja and visited a memorial to the victims of the 1988 gas bombing by Sudam Hussein’s regime when over 5000 people died and over 10,000 wounded. People who survived still suffer from the affects of the gas. It was a sad reminder of how horribly humans sometimes treat each other.