I received a text message which read “Iraqi Youth Camp.. are you interested” little did I know that that initial text would turn into an experience that I would truly never forget.
At first I thought nothing of this message and assumed it must be the typical weekend youth trips that would occur away in Manchester or Leeds so it was to my surprise when I learned that this “camp” would actually be going to Iraq. I would get at least 2 or 3 more messages before I investigated further, a trip to present project ideas to the youth of Iraq was the one liner. As such a meeting was organised in Dar Al Islam foundation where a good number of youth both male and female were present. The idea was that everyone presented their project as a means of justification for attending the “camp”.
To be honest I really didn’t have a sharp bright idea or one that was burning in my heart that I simply had to present to Iraq. Rather I was a casual attendee curious to see what exactly this “camp” was about and what were its aims and objectives. As each youth began to present their project it became clear to me that if I wanted to attend I better come up with a “project”. So it got round to me and the only thing I could think of was a website. “A website that would interconnect young Iraqi students/professionals inside Iraq with young Iraqis in the west” I proudly suggested. The reception to the idea was good and so I had successfully booked my ticket to Iraq.
The day came and there was a buzzing feeling about 25 male and 25 females gathered at Dar Al Islam foundation, the flight was from Birmingham to Istanbul where we would spend 8 hours in transit before our flight to Baghdad international. I knew a lot of the individuals on the trip but also met some new faces we spent the initial part of the journey in general chit-chat feeling both apprehensive and excited for this is was the first time we were travelling as group of young Iraqis to our homeland.
Our time at Istanbul felt tiresome sitting in the airport waiting for our flight but we managed to kill time slowly, spent in an everlasting array of riddles and exploring every inch of the airport. As is natural one is usually quite closed when initially meeting new people or those that they do not normally hang around with so our time in transit was a good way of getting to know one another.
The gate was finally ready and onwards towards Iraq not knowing what exactly to expect so far so good…
Part 2: – A Delay at Baghdad Airport – Coming Soon