Gut Instincts in Northern Iraq


I recently wrote a ‘from personal experience’ piece about my disaster relief work in the Ripcord Adventure Journal. Opening a blank Word document, I had an uncomfortable feeling about whether the content was quite right for an ‘adventure’ journal. I mean, traveling to far flung corners of the globe and working against an unusual backdrop is adventurous, however I shuddered at the idea that people may think I saw the delivery of humanitarian aid as simply a fun-filled trip. I do not. I turned to the web for clarification and googled ‘adventure’. Resulting definition: ‘a reckless or potentially hazardous action or enterprise‘ or ‘an unusual or daring experience’. I was satisfied that writing my story in this capacity was legit.

“Exiting the car, we were met with questioning gazes from men communing in the open air and attempting to re-create shelters from the canvas tents which has been so brutally shredded. A tall gentleman approached Talib asking our business, and Talib explained that we were here to assess the damage from the sandstorm the night before with a view to delivering further aid and to document the personal stories of some of those willing to talk to us at the camp. Neither, it was explained to him, was dependent on the other. This man of evident significance softened his stance and invited us to speak with members of his community. Introduced to a woman who invited me into her tent, with male neighbours present and her face completely covered she began to tell me her story.”

Turn to page 74 to read my article ‘Gut Instincts in Northern Iraq‘.


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