Into the Mountains - My New Family in Amadiya
Trip Start Jan 21, 2007
7Trip End Mar 07, 2007
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Once we approached Amedy, it was exactly as I had read, situated on a small plateau and clearly a very strategic site from a military perspective.
Unfortunately, I quickly learned that the hotel in the centre of town was closed so I had to stay in the lower suburb area at the base of the plateau. After unpacking, I immediately walked "up the hill"
Eventually, I got to the town and started to stroll the streets.
Shortly after lunch we met up with the others for the picnic and after getting refreshment supplies and snacks, headed off from the town onto back roads where the guys settled on a nice scenic spot beside a creek. After starting a small fire we ended up chatting and enjoying each others friendship. Of course, I also had the opportunity to learn how to dance a few steps Kurdish style. On the way back to town Havgar was insistent that I stay at his home so I agreed to do so on my second night.
The next morning, on schedule, Havgar picked me up and I immediately enjoyed a delicious and filling lunch with his family. I especially enjoyed "talking" with his mother who although did not know much English, was still interested in trying to communicate with me. I also found it interesting to chat a bit with one of Havgar's sisters-in-law who had recently married and moved back to Kurdistan from the Netherlands. Hearing her thoughts on the cultural differences between being back in Amedy versus Europe was quite provocative.
Afterward, Havgar and I met with his friend Kovan and we wandered around Amedy streets. One of our first stops was the community hall building where there was a "party" going on. We stopped in to observe the festivities (singing and skits) which were quite entertaining considering everything was in Kurdish and with an all-male audience and performers.
From there we took a look into the community gym where an indoor football match was occurring and then on to a small park with an excellent view of the mountains. As we headed back, we also passed by the Turkish military installation where several small tanks were parked. Havgar explained that the Turkish army first came about 7 years ago when there was fighting between the PKK and PDK (different Kurdish political organizations). However, even though the hostilities had ended, a Turkish contingent of about 15 soldiers remained in Almedy.
Later it was back to my "Almedy home" for dinner and to chat more with my new family.
It felt so comfortable and friendly with Havgar's parents and their hospitality was incredible. For me, the opportunity to spend such close time with new friends who treated me like one of their own was so special and the highlight of my stay in Almedy. I will never forget my memorable connection to this small mountain town.