Monday, June 14, 2010

70km from the Iraqi border

Right now I am sitting in my apartment (or rather Robert's bedroom) practicing sitting cross-legged and doing things because that is an essential skill to being a Bedouin. And I suck at it. So, lately, I have been practicing sitting cross-legged for about a half-hour a day, because that is usually all I can take. But anyways, that's not what I really wanted to talk about.

Today, was a very interesting day. Part of what we are doing in the Badia involves making a comprehensive list of the NGOs in the area and figuring out what they need, what they've done, and what works in development out here. The main problems in the area involve women's rights, education (especially English education), caring for disabled kids, and just basic economic development (the vast majority of the people are employed by the government/receive government welfare). So, we contacted an NGO out in Rawashid, which is 70km from the Iraqi border (and about 200 from Salhiyya, where we live). After a couple false starts (which included walking for about a mile on the Baghdad Highway), we made it out to Rawashid. The drive was awesome. It is such a desolate and haunting area. I've been told that some volcano, now dormant, exploded in prehistoric times, and that is why the ground is littered with black rocks. We had a productive meeting with the NGO, who agreed to give us a list of their projects and their needs. It's really exciting work because these people have lots of big ideas and huge hearts, but lack the technical expertise and the financial resources that we in the West have. Afterwards, we went out to Qasrd Bourga, the most remote of a series of hunting lodges built by Ummayyad lords in the 7th/8th centuries.

It was awesome. The NGO provided us with a Bedouin guide who drove us on a dirt road thirty minutes or so into the desert. We drove through flat, seemingly endless desert before arriving before a ruined building next to, of all things, a lake. In the middle of the desert. Apparently, a river or stream used to run through the area, but the dude who built the place back in the day dammed both sides of the river and created a lake. The dichotomy was amazing: a greenish lake and a ruined palace in the middle of desert in the middle of nowhere. Humans are versatile creatures.

Well, you'll be happy to know that I made it for about another half-hour of sitting cross-legged, and I didn't give up because of the pain- my laptop was about to die and I had to plug it in. Well, enjoy the pictures!

1 comment:

  1. inta katib gaid, saiid james ilarabi. ana baheb suwarak katir, habibi.