I borrowed a Manjal.

That written up there sounds so absurd. I agree. But I did. I went to the neighbour’s house and borrowed a manjal (pot). I am new in the neighbourhood. With the neighbours, by our doorstep we say our hellos and have a quick conversation about how long the electricity cut last night, and what the schedule of our water is.

During Jezhn they visited, and when one of them goes back to her village she sends me a plateful of fresh, organic fruit with one of her children. I’m thinking of sending chocolate cake- nothing compared to fresh farm fruits, or Hawleri dolma, but sorry that’s the only decent tasting thing that can come out of my kitchen.

Anyhow, my mother-in-law was cooking for all my husband’s friends, only to realise her bwk (AKA me!) doesn’t have a rice pot large enough for 12 people. “Get one from the neighbour’s house!”


I knocked on the door, I asked for a pot. As awkward as I felt it also seemed so natural.

“Come in. Please. No. Not at the door. Would you like something to drink? Sit down. This pot or this one, is this okay?” Then we spoke about my cooking talent (not) and the neighbour insisted if I ever need help when doing da’awat (invites) she will be more than happy to help. She spoke to me as if we have known each other for years, I also didn’t feel like it was my first time visiting…

I walked out with a pot which was supposed to comfortably house 6 kg of rice, an amount I have probably never cooked in my entire life.

The point is, these little gestures about life in Kurdistan make it all worth while. The bureaucracy, the corruption, the lack of health system, the poor education quality… but there is another side to all this and it’s the people. The people (most of them) of this nation are loving, caring, polite and always ready to be at the service of others. This is a quality I am forever proud of, and an environment that I want my kids to grow in.

I know I can knock at the neighbour’s door at any emergency, if my sugar has ran out, if my car is broken or God forbid if something happens to the kids. Remember, these are not blood related relatives, neither are they friends; we just happen to live next to each other and refuse to be called strangers.

I’m not sure what the very sweet Hawleri woman who cooks for at least seven cars of guests every weekend thinks of me. But I know I think highly of her, and her lovely family.

Lots of love from

My Nest in Kurdistan

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