Skip to content

My Kurdish hosts

2010 novembre 15
sife ali - shafcat

It all begins with Shafcat...

As I was on my way to Jarablos, a border next to the Kurdish area, I was tricked by a classic traveler’s ambush: the bus driver who gives you as many “kwaïes, kwaïes*” you want to justify how he does understand your request, and then drives you directly to the other side of the country.

That’s how I’ve met Shafcat at the bus station of Aleppo. I was kind of lucky this day, cause I also learned that my border was closed… and asking myself what to do next. Shafcat invites me to join him on his way back to his village.

Sife Ali seats on the high lands surrounding the lake Al Assad. Fertile fields cover the sweet hills around a group of few houses and the school, delimited by dusty paths where you will only see motorcycles and tractors: the asphalted road is a few kilometers away. Arabic shepherd tents pop-up as they are following their flock, but almost everybody is Kurdish here. If they speak currently Averroes language, for English, it is very rare. Hopefully, young generation learn at least a few words, and Shafcat is fluent.

sife ali - Khader and family

Amina, Jan and Khader

I slept to his family’s house. Khader, is father, have calloused hands of farmers, deep eyes and a permanent smile. Enough to communicate. Most of his children are gone now, married, or studying in Aleppo. He shares the home with his wife, younger son and daughter. A few chickens and three cows in the garden. Nothing rich, nothing poor. But a huge sense of hospitality, as his son.

sife ali - école

One of the two class rooms of Sife Ali school. During holidays, little birds take control of the place

During my days – yeah, I finally slept three nights over there –, I got time to hang around. Quick touristic tour include a few old Roman stones, and a look to the Euphrate river, which, at this season, flood the road. It is provided by my local My Hell’s Angels crew, demonstrating easiness skills in steeps rocky paths. Next day was dedicated to visit family and relatives of my hosts. Received as a prince in each place, I enjoyed tea and fruits as we take some fun doing videos of everything and everybody.

sife ali - buddies

A bunch of buddies: Magid, Firas, 'Christiano Ronaldo' and Ahmad, facing the flooded road.

At night, lot of people joined us at “Khader’s headquarter”. What I enjoyed the most was spending time with Shafcat and his friends. Many people, hard to tell a word about everybody, even if they deserve it… Ahmad have a lively loud laugh every ten minutes. ‘Christiano Ronaldo’ and Magid give me some Kurdish vocabulary, and learned me a local card game with Firas and Ali. Jehat is the singer of the village.

Tonight, he sings a beautiful sad song in his language. Every Kurdish song have the same sad story.

A story of people looking for their country.



* “Good”, “ok”.


Wants to see some video of kurdish dance ? Check the link ;)

5 Responses leave one →
  1. novembre 16, 2010

    Je t’embrasse sur les deux joues pour te souhaiter un bel anniversaire. Que tu profites de cette journée comme de ces journées que tu vis et que je t’envie !
    Je pense à toi. Surtout depuis que j’ai piqué tous tes pulls restés dans l’armoire mirefleurienne arf arf arf.. : ) Ici y fait froid alors faut pas m’en vouloir.
    Je t’aime. Prend soin de toi.
    Mathilde

    • novembre 16, 2010

      Bah toi tu peux pas envoyer un mail avec un nounours en Gif qui déballe une carte d’anniversaire, comme tout le monde ? :)
      Si mes pulls connaissent le même destin que ma machine à laver, je suis pas prêt de revenir passer un hiver sous nos tropiques… Hé béh bravo ! (t’as froid à Toulouse en plus ??!? C’est juste pour me piquer des trucs ouais !)
      J’t'embrasse ma belle, des pensées.
      Doudou

  2. décembre 10, 2010

    DOU DOU!!!!!!!!
    I am in Cairo with Pierre sharing laughter and smiles and celebrating you and connections and human connection!
    I wish i could be there with you in Iraqi Kurdistan. I must go there. Your post practically put tears in my eyes from laughter and emotion and the few but very rich memories of our time together. Do you have a video of the Kurdish songs? I would love to see this. The beauty in the sorrow… so unique, so emotional, so profound…. thank you for sharing this window of experience; it is truly priceless.
    Nothing rich, nothing poor – this is a perfect description. I love this.
    Enjoy your travels Prince Dou Dou. Relish in the goodness and the splendor of humankind and human generosity, it is a true gift.

    Mes sincères salutations
    xo Diane (from Dier Mar Musa, Syria)

    • décembre 11, 2010

      marry me.
      Send you a kurdish song in FB, but not a sad one, cause the video is better. From Diyarbekir, turkish Kurdistan, and not sourian…
      ‘rendez-vous’ in a little bit more than one month in India, for sure
      bisou !
      Doudou (from Deir Marmusa, Syria, also. As if I know one million English-spoken DianeS :)… )

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Syria for cheap | f0ll0w-me

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS