My Brief "Adoption" by a Kurdish Family
Amadiya Travel Blog› entry 6 of 6 › view all entries
Since I had to wait for my flight ticket to be processed, I decided I would spend a couple nights in the small mountain town of Amadiya/Amedy which a number of the university students indicated was a very beautiful place. Taking a shared taxi the 70 kilometres to the town of about 6,000 inhabitants showed a changing landscape highlighted by the traverse through a range of snow-dusted mountains.
On the other side of the pass, the taxi driver said something to me about Saddam that I did not understand but later realized he was referring to the mountain palace that sits on one of the peaks.
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" to the main town. This proved to be quite a hike and as I took the stone staircase upwards, I noticed a collection of mine warning signs.
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.
Eventually, I got to the town and started to stroll the streets. However within a half hour, I was chatting to a group of young men enjoying a leisurely stroll on their day off. These proved to be a group of young professionals, consisting among others of Havgar (lawyer), Fawsi (agricultural engineer) and Botan . They were very friendly and as we walked described the various sites and were sure to point out the ancient entrance to the city.
Shortly, they were asking if I wanted to join them for a picnic and not really understanding what that meant, I was initially a bit hesitant.
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. After that, I was taken back to the hotel where I spent a very restful night appreciating the wonderful hospitality provided by my new found friends.
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
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. I found it so interesting that such politically motivated circumstances still prevailed in a sleepy and peaceful town like 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.