Well, that didn’t exactly go as planned…

August 9th, 2014

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It’s never been an easy thing to plan and run workshops with folks on the margins. But this year has been the most challenging to date.

Our original partners here in Kurdistan have had to keep their students busy with tutors. Many failed their end-of-school year government exams, and they hope to improve their grades enough for the students to move on to the next grade in school. This wasn’t confirmed to us until very recently though.

Our students at the Syrian refugee camp have moved to a new camp. Our parter NGOs don’t yet have space at the new camp, so for the present time, we’ve lost our connection with these teens.

And it wasn’t until last week that we confirmed with another partner that we’d be able to run another workshop with child-workers in the bazaar.

It’s strange to be in Sulaymaniyah in August, and not be running full-tilt, with excited volunteers and a schedule packed full with classes and kids. We’re learning what it is to really be open to serving in this community, to meet the needs and the schedules of the kids here and not necessarily what is most convenient for us.


We began a workshop this past Thursday with teenage boys who work in the bazaar. The current political situation in Iraq, and all the instability that comes with it, has an impact on their ability to work. Locals are concerned about what might happen, and concerned people spend less. Less shopping means less work for the boys.

And so we meet them where they are. We will practice really seeing the place where they spend so much time. We will look at light and shape and beauty. We will encourage and listen. For as long as we have with them.

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