Remarkable witness, from displaced Christians in Iraq, via NCR’s Tom Gallagher and the CNEWA blog One-to-One:
The homes are converted shipping containers, sitting on cinderblocks. They are cramped, airless spaces with two windows and a front door. One window contains a boxy air conditioner. The camp’s streets are made of hard-packed mud and stone and dust is constant. Families hang their washed clothing to dry on lines tied to their buildings. Another challenge for the camp is new marriages. Since there is no more living space available, young couples are forced to live with their parents after marriage, which leads to inevitable conflict. Some families add space by attaching a thin frame with fencing or tarps to the containers. After two years, the camp’s temporary housing is taking on the feel of permanent housing. There is no place to go, no home to return to, as the Islamic State group either continues to occupy their towns or has booby-trapped the towns with explosives, or the region otherwise remains too dangerous to return. “If we did not believe in Jesus, half of us would commit suicide,” said the camp director when asked to describe the mental health of those in camp.
Reporter Tom Gallagher is one of several people accompanying staff from CNEWA and CNEWA’s Chair, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on a pastoral visit to Iraqi Kurdistan this week to meet displaced Christians. You can follow the journey and find frequent updates right here.
Photo: Tom Gallagher