They may cook in an alley, but their hospitality has never waivered


IDP women in their make-shift outdoor kitchen

These ladies used to have homes of their own. They had real kitchens with a stove and a refrigerator…not to mention a roof. 

Their weeks were marked by familiar domestic routine: visits to favourite shops for dry goods, trips to the bazaar for fresh fruit and vegetables, and favourite meals cooked for their families.

That was before ISIS turned their worlds upside down; before they lost homes and businesses. That was before they found shelter in a school far from home, and before 6 families began to live out of 2 small rooms. There is just enough space for them all to lie down at night to sleep; not enough room for an indoor kitchen.

When we see images of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the news, many of us assume that they always lived in dire circumstances. We assume they were always poor, and that a change in location has been their largest lifestyle shift. But most IDPs and refugees were people who lived lives very much like you and me. They had homes and work, community and guests over for dinner.

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A Kurdish housewife takes much pride in her home. And rightly so; no matter how humble her home might be, it is always clean and guest-ready. Kurdish hospitality is renowned It might sometimes look effortless, but families work hard to treat guests well and to make them feel comfortable.

Each time our local partners visit, these families are welcoming. There are smiles of recognition and greetings. Their circumstances have changed; their hospitality is as generous as ever.

But it’s obvious that daily life is exhausting now. There is a constant worry that food supplies will run out. There are the complicated logistics of cooking for 6 families on 2 burners. And it’s emotionally exhausting to keep an alley-kitchen clean and guest-ready.

Did you know your hospitality is renowned, too? We’ve told these families of your generosity—would you continue helping us provide these families? Your donation can help us provide a bigger cook top and boost their food supplies over the winter!

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An IDP woman cleans the stove in her outdoor kitchen


Photo credit: Heber Vega