Village Life – Memoirs!

To my dearest, most loyal, and greatest readerS*

Let me introduce you to village life in Kurdistan

If I described the atmosphere to you right now as I am writing, you would envy me. It is dark, pitch black, but somehow you can just see the outline of a giant mountain in front of you in front of the dark sky. There’s a gentle breeze, a little cold, but you can smell nature, and the earth after it has rained. Every now and then there is the mooing of the cows from our neighbor’s place. The breeze and the sound of trees take me away. There’s not a single star in the sky.

Above is a picture of me taken by M. M. as I was writing this, (on word, obviously there was no internet access)

Beside me is a fire, which we started with a few of the stack of wood on my left. Unlike any fire before, this burns rapidly — must be the fresh bark — and on it sits the tea pot, now charred black.
Dad, like any typical Kurdish father, eagerly waits for the tea.

I wonder what the neighbors are doing right now.

This evening there is no television, there is no Internet and no phone calls or “beep, beep” sound of one text following the other: “Don’t forget this, do that, bring this, fill that,” and so on. This is exactly what I have purposely left behind. I have escaped the city life in Erbil and gone to heaven. Heaven, in my dictionary is nowhere else but in Kurdistan’s own mountains, in one of its exquisite villages.

And look who welcomed me first…

As we arrived earlier today, I took a walk around this small village, I have already made many friends. In fact, you would, too. Almost everyone you say “hello” to insists you visit their homes. This is not one of those semi-developed villages. No, this is a real village, where people live in mud houses, there is a barrel outside with a tap attached for a sink and the toilet is outside — you are lucky if there is a tin door (which by the way, never closes entirely), but usually a cloth covering acts as a door.

Through the walk, I began to wonder, and now, by the wood fire outside, I am beginning to think: Does life have to be that difficult? It does not. Here I am, at my happiest, with only the basic necessities.

Somewhere above the mountains of Kurdistan lays the village of Haladen– Just by looking at it I remember the fresh oxygen I breathed in over there.

The people are lovely. They are polite. The people here are family you have never met. They are simple. The simplest you could ever imagine. What are these people, I wonder. Angels? Two minutes after meeting you, they would give you’re their lives if you asked for it. These are the real Kurds that I know. Of course when you are a guest you can’t by shy and must take everything you are offered (if you’re thin–a little too thin– like myself, then expect to be fed food enough for an entire month in one evening. “You need to eat my daughter, Alhamdulila har xwardn zora!” I remember one of the elderly man and his wife told me when I accepted to have only chay in their little house. (I must mention here, chay turned into mastaw, fruits, rewas, chay; rice, chicken; chay etc…)

Poora and Maama, they are my new aunt and uncle. As a total stranger they invited me inside their house, just as they saw me walking around the village

Earlier, for lunch, onions and celery, picked only steps away from where I am sitting. Today, I ate all sorts of wild things that you can only find in nature — unwashed. Yogurt and milk come from the animals here — not sure about the health issues though — I could bid that the Poora and Mama I had dinner/ afternoon tea with (probably 75 to 80 year old) are stronger and healthier than I am.

The fresh mastaw
The Chay, rosary, Kurdish clothing…

When you are in a village in Kurdistan, you almost feel ashamed that you have too much, you realize that there is no need for everything that you have. If you are still wondering if you should get that Dior handbag or you don’t have the new iPhone yet, then I remind you here, simplicity is everything. Good health is a priority.

Another Poora, pouring the third pyala of chay from the Samawar

As I am writing, little drops of rain are falling onto the keyboard, just in time, as I am finishing for today. Tonight I am not sleeping on my queen size bed, I am not watching BBC before bed nor am I putting a facial mask on looking like an alien from out of space** for 20 minutes. 


Tonight, as soon as I put my head on the pillow I will be asleep before I know it. No tossing and turning worrying about the stresses of tomorrow and brainstorming a check list in my head of what needs to be done. Here, on top of the mountains of Kurdistan, hidden in a small village surrounded by nature, I know tonight before reaching to count three sheep I will be fast asleep.

On that note, the cows seem to have fallen asleep. Nature says its bedtime. And you, still in the city, you’re probably just about to open Facebook right now.

When Kurds say: Sar Sar o Sar Chaw, this is what they mean!!

So, you are welcome, sar sar o sar chaw this time next week to read another entry on my journey through the village that is above the clouds and over the mountains of Kurdistan. You don’t believe me?

for a writer, this is heaven

*(S.I, H.S, L, K, B.A, A.S, …. sadly mum is no longer a fan!).  I wrote this last weekend, in a little trip I took to the village with my family. It was this weeks column in the Globe, but I thought I would share it with you here anyway, with some pictures as well.
All pictures, but one, were taken by me for this blog only 🙂 somehow I am always thinking of you–even when I am in the village for vacation 

3 thoughts on “Village Life – Memoirs!

Add yours

  1. Beautiful as always… loved the pictures… I have experiences village and bedouin life and I find them so peaceful… i love it as you shed all the troubles and stress that you have been carrying on your shoulders for months on end… I love the simplicity just as you so eloquently put it in words…
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful experience… it takes me back to my days doing the exact same thing…


  2. @Tabouleh,
    I guess where you are right now, you can also indulge in the beauty of nature. Though I hope one day you can come here and experience the nature in Kurdistan first hand. Sometimes words just can't describe it. Thank you for reading, thanks for the complements, and thanks for always making me feel someone somewhere continents away is following my entries.


  3. I open comments to write something, but honestly – i have no idea what to write. what is coming to my head is: heaven, dream, i will be back one day… But there are not too much words, but too much feelings. Day by day is more hard for me and i miss my paradise more and more. when i look at the pictures now – i almost cant believe that i was there. every single day i am thinking about it. This love – crazy love and strange love – makes me strong, but at the same time it gives me the pain of missing, the sadness of unsorted things, the sorrow for the things which shouldnt happen…
    These 12 days in march were the best thing that happened in my life.
    When you will be in mountains next time – tell them that for me its more than just mountains.
    Hamuu zhiyanim, hata damrim ba qurban Kurdistan bet.


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