The holidays came and went in a blur of family, food and traveling. A brilliant time was had by all including of course a wee song on Hogmanay.
I spent January gearing up for my first trip to the middle east- Iraq to be precise. I had been asked to put together a band to play for a ceilidh/ Burns night in aid of an orphanage in Erbil. Delighted to be asked I recruited a few other fearless souls – Murdo Cameron, Murray Willis and Andrew MacPherson and off we went.
It was a fairly early start (3am call) to get the flight from Heathrow via Vienna and onto Erbil. There were a few shenanigans on route but perhaps we won’t go into them here…… Arriving to be met by security and then whisked away to our host houses. While we were over there we were looked after very very well.
Our first night in Kurdistan we went to a Lebanon restaurant. Kurdistan is very multicultural. When the persecution was at it’s worst in Iraq many people found a tolerant home in Kurdistan and this continues today. By this time we had been up for over 24 hours and during dinner Murray stared at a plate of salad he held in his hand for over a minute……. tired.
The next day we headed to the Divan Hotel for our soundcheck. The rigging there was fit for a small outdoor festival. Hilarious! The sound guys took hours to set up and our check took about twenty minutes- the boys wanted to get back to the bar 😉
The gig itself was incredible- such a mix of cultures. The guests were keen to dance (although some of the ‘freestyle’ dancing was tricky to incorporate), the staff were amused and interested combining to make a fun night for everyone.
The next day the boys were leaving me. I had a couple of extra days to explore. After waving the boys goodbye there were more dinners out (social butterfly that I am ), a trip to the mountains in Rawanduz which were breathtaking in their beauty before the most important visit of the whole trip. The morning I was leaving I spent in the orphanage in Erbil.
The building was new and I was impressed with the staff. An idea began to take hold. The kids went to school but during leisure time had little to do. The idea was growing. The summer holidays being a bit of a black hole for them due to limited resources etc. The idea was now fully formed and out in the open.
There is a group of us now working on it
What is it?
I’ll let you know…….
in the next post 😉
It involves a trip back to Kurdistan soon!
keep your eyes peeled