Iraq’s Poorest are Rich In Hospitality

The young kids couldn't wait for use to see the new baby lamb, so they brought the lamb to us inside!

In Middle Eastern culture, hospitality is a key to life. It is the backbone for every social and business interaction. Each offers what they have, however meagre. But everyone wants to host well.

Who doesn't love to be seen?!

For families displaced by ISIS, who escaped with just the clothes they were wearing, it has a been a long, slow climb to stability. Every displaced family we have ever visited has offered tea. Many families offered a meal even though they barely had enough food for themselves. They always have the desire to serve, even when the cupboards are bare.

It was a true delight then, to be able to accept an invitation to lunch from a few of the displaced families you have helped over the last year. Thanks to the aid they received (including two Empowerment small business grants you provided—and we are excited to share with you soon), they are in a much more stable situation.

In a culture where hospitality is so highly valued, it was a real treat to stay for lunch.

We have visited these families often enough to have developed a deep love for them. We have a comfort level with each other that makes it possible for the children to sit close and hold our hands, and to lie on the floor and be silly. It was lovely to have the chance to simply spend time—to visit.

Our visit included lots of girl time...time to talk about the things that matter to little girls.

When our friends lived back in Sinjar, they were part of a tight community who were in and out of each others’ home. Neighbours came for long visits over endless cups of tea. It’s different here. They are welcomed by locals, but they are still outsiders. Neighbours don’t simply stop in for a visit.

The little one was just a baby the first time we met her.

Some of the kids played shy when the camera came out...

One of our friends got out his saz for the occasion!

Their joy in having us there for a meal was obvious. The young boys were so excited to show us a new lamb they brought the little wooly creature right inside! There was music and singing, conversations about babies on the way, and there were plates piled high with food!

The young ones take it all in...

These friends who had nothing were able to host us so well. On this visit, there was a sense of hope in the community we haven’t seen there before. They were relaxed.

It was beautiful.

You’re doing amazing things, friends.