Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh, to blog again!

I leave Iraq in exactly one week!

It's been sad transitioning out of life here. I've loved every day here...and now that it's being taken away it makes me want to hold on tighter to anything I can.

This morning I woke up to a phone call telling me that I'm an uncle again! My sister, in the Dominican Republic, gave birth to little Diego Miguel. I'm so thankful that every one is healthy and I'm hoping I'll be able to see them sometime soon!

Today I spent half of the day going from Klash store to Klash store having tea with each of the men. I think they knew what was coming because all of them made the trek over to come and see me and buy me one last glass of tea. We talked about life here, life in America, if I'll come back and the future of the Klash. Maybe I was just really sentimental today, but each interaction seemed so meaningful and profound. Tomorrow I plan on going to see the other half of the bazaar to say more goodbyes.

From there I went to go meet with a friend I just met a few days ago. He's an artist here who called me after seeing our exhibition in Zamwa Gallery. We talked about art, peace and reconciliation and how to connect all three. I had to leave that early to go meet with a Bangladeshi man who's trying to fight against the human trafficking that's trapped him and 150 other Bengali men here in Iraq. Some exciting and sickening things are starting to come to the surface with all of that....but that's for another blog post.

From there we went to meet with Sheiks from Kirkuk and Baghdad and hear the ideas and actions they're taking to bring peace to Iraq. They want to join together and labor for love among the people of Kirkuk and Baghdad. They've begun to give us the medical files of children they know who need heart surgery. Love is truly taking hold in some of the hardest places in Iraq.

From there I went to an amazing going away party for me, hosted by Michelle. We savored actual pepperoni pizza trucked in from the Kirkuk military base and all watched a movie outside on her lawn. It was an incredible day...followed up with an incredible evening.

There are SO many blog posts in my head...but time has been hard to come by here. That, along with our phone line being cut off at our office and therefore not having internet for the past several days means that blog posts are taking a lot more effort. I really want to blog soon though and I hope that I'm able to communicate everything I want to. Thanks for being so patient.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Check out some of the art from the gallery here!

After that go buy a catalog full of the Kurdish art and BSSL photography here!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Art Gallery Opening

Yesterday at 4:00, the Preemptive Love Art Exhibition was officially opened in Zamwa Gallery. It was originally supposed to open in February but after several bumps in the road, it's arrived! I walked up to the Gallery about an hour before it opened and there were already several reporters and artists waiting outside. It was a great time to spend with the artists and hear them talk to other people about the children here who need heart surgery, and how they want to continue to use their talents to do something about it.

The gallery's full of art dedicated to the children of Kurdistan. Some of the art has been created specifically for this event and other pieces have been donated in the hopes that it will help raise awareness and advocate on behalf of children here.

All of the art from the gallery has been compiled in a book and we're going to be selling it from our on-line store. The book isn't officially in the store but it will be in the next day or two. CHECK IT OUT!

The ribbon was cut by a well known local artist everyone simply addresses as "mamosta." (teacher) One thing I've grown to love about this culture is how highly they esteem their artists and poets. America has professional athletes and movie stars as role models...the Middle East has poets, artists, and warriors as theirs.