Humans of Kurdistan
The "Humans Of Kurdistan" project aims to present the cultural diversity of the country. A look at the faces but also the stories that lie behind each of them.

October 26, 2020

“I used to think that guitars were only used in fights and was specific to fights when I was watching movies about cowboys and the wild west. Even though I am an architect and have worked as an architect for a while, but I chose to learn playing guitar. Now that I am a guitar player, I think differently from how I used to think about guitars. Now I am a kindergarten teacher, I play the guitar for the kids and dance with them, we do Samba and Flamenco. We dance and move around and have fun. When I see the kids, I know what I have missed as a kid, and to compensate myself for that sometimes I want all of my body to become ears to enjoy music and songs.” ...

October 23, 2020

“When I was a student, I really liked the scientific lessons, but I only got 63/100 in the twelfth grade. It was much less than I thought, and I didn't like any of the colleges that had accepted me. I went to study Kurdish in Baghdad university because I wanted to see Baghdad. I graduated after four years, but I still liked scientific lessons. After several years of teaching I became the principal of Kawa school. All of these years passed and I still wanted to study scientific lessons. One day, we were notified that there was a math course for teachers so I quickly signed up. After I took that course, I started teaching math until the day I was retired.” ...

October 21, 2020

“When you set someone as your role model, you would want to turn most of your life like theirs, even your hair and clothes. Because of my love for Marcelo the Brazilian player, I have made my haircut to look like his, even though a lot of people criticize me for my looks. I hear a lot of people saying that I look like a woman, or say that it's a shame how I let my hair grow so much. One of my teachers told me once if I shave my hair, he would give me 15 grades for it, I told him if he even lets me pass, I wouldn't shave it. My father really supports my decision, and doesn't want me to shave it, but my mother always fights with me because of my hair.” ...

October 17, 2020

“My dream to become the president started when I saw Iraq's map for the first time, I saw it in one of my books and said that I wanted to be the president of this place. When I was in primary school, I always told my friends and teachers that I wanted to be the president, and they always called me so. As a result, my nickname became Sarok (Kurdish word for president). I am now the head of an organization called Rawti Kurdi (Kurdish Path). We used to hear how people made fun of how an African-American wanted to become the president of the United States, and the same goes for a girl in the Middle East and in Iraq to say I want to be the president. Nevertheless, I know well that nothing is impossible. Life is constantly changing, and everyone is waiting for someone to change things. I will be that change, and I will become the president.” ...

October 13, 2020

“I love Hawler, but I don't like all the concrete buildings, concrete houses, and heavy metal. Being annoyed by all of this, made me come up with an idea to build a place with only wood, we have been collecting wood for about two months. Come see for yourself and you'll know how difficult it's been for me to build a place like this. However, when people come see the place and have a good time, I feel delighted. I have 22 employees here.Our cafeteria gets customers of all kinds, people from the city, travelers, even people who work at the consulates. Additionally, I go to the bazaar every day to see if I can get my hands on old decorative items and bring them to the cafeteria. The place has almost turned into an antique store.” ...

October 11, 2020

"I had taken my sewing machine with me to the dorms during my college years. The university tried really hard to convince me to not take the machine, but I was adamant on my decision. I was sewing clothes for the girls in the dorms for a very small fee, and did it free of charge for the ones who didn't have the money because I knew that the students in the dorms knew no one in the city and had a lot of expenses.Sewing has become a big part of my life, I am never away from my sewing machine. After I graduated from college, I started teaching a friend of mine so she starts working after me. I have created a culture in the girls dorms; the girl that I have taught must teach someone else so the momentum is kept because I know that the girls really need it.Now that I have graduated, I still do sewing and I have my own shop. Furthermore, I have several students that I teach sewing to, and I have a book written that is in its last stages." ...

October 8, 2020

"After people started to go back to their villages, we were happy about one thing, and that was harvesting tobacco. Harvesting tobacco is a tradition in our village and it has always helped it financially. Each year, one hour worth of machine work goes into our fields, in which I'm able to plant about 200 trees. Since we harvest it from trees, it is better to count the trees. The process starts in spring, we start planting and then on March 15th we cultivate the land and both males and females start working. The males cultivate the land and make it ready for the females to plant the tobacco seeds. Then, it takes about 15 to 20 days until the tobacco starts to grow, and we start topping and suckering in three different stages. Finally, in about 15 to 20 days the tobacco is ready to be harvested." “There are several types of tobacco, for example Faqe Hawez, scented tobacco, Be Shama, and Base Shal. Scented tobacco especially exists in Zewa, Hartal, and Shira. Be Shama exists in Nwawa and Dwawa. Base Shal is Bitwen's specialty. The best type of tobacco is the scented tobacco of Zewa as it's made on world standard quality. The Saids use it and if it is harvested well and is well taken care of, it could cost up to $100 per kilo. About 40 or 50 years ago people used to visit the villages to bring Qasp dates and soap to trade with tobacco flowers. The dates were called the Kurd killer Qasp and they used to bring it in 30 kilo batches. The reason behind the naming is because the Arabs didn't eat this type of Qasp, they only used it to feed their animals. However, since we didn't have much to eat and were not familiar to other types of dates, we really liked it. The tobacco leaves are usually hung on metal bars, but the flower is taken off and rested on a hotbed to be dried.We are very happy with our work, and despite the fun we get out of it since we do it in groups, it has a good financial return for us.” ...

October 6, 2020

“Life is really not the bubble that many people see it as, from the moment I have opened my eyes nothing seemed to have go my way. As a young boy, I was a shepherd, a farmer, and always worked in the mud in my village. Because of the difficult life I had, despite being born in 1957 I got married at the age of thirty five. Life used to be different from what it is now; when I got married my friends sons' have already become shepherds. I have been digging wells since the 1980s, I'm several meters beneath the earth for the most part of the day as I try to dig more and more. Whenever I come back to the surface of the earth, the loneliness from down there stays with me, and so I don't have the desire to speak to anyone. The darkness and loneliness of the wells have attached me to my thoughts only.” ...

October 6, 2020

“My main concern was that I won't get accepted in the college that I have been working for my whole life. However, when I finished 12th grade, the grades I earned were not what I wanted. Then, I had to make a choice, either to try again next year, or study in any college that will accept me.The only person that could help me decide is my mother. She always tells me that I can do it, but I believe that success doesn't always have to be in the area that you want to succeed in. I had a teacher that always used to tell me: how he liked to study engineering, but his father helped him apply the form and secretly put medicine on top of the form. When he had found out, he had torn the form apart and had applied a new form. When he had known he couldn't get accepted in engineering, he had decided to study physics. He is now a physics teacher and he always says that If he was to go back in time, he would choose physics again because he has been successful in it.” ...

October 3, 2020

“When the season of pomegranate harvesting begins, we use two types of baskets to collect them, (Barchna) which is a small basket made from dried reed, and another bigger basket called (Qatala) which is used as a backpack. The good thing about using Qatala and Barchna is that they won't let the pomegranates to get hurt when they fall. Also, these tools had been used by our forefathers, and we like using them as well.Rural life could be very good, but it is not as good as it used to be financially. We are used to living here, and that's why we will never leave. Although harvesting doesn't get you enough worth for your efforts, yet when we start harvesting all of that is forgotten about.” "We have many different types of pomegranates, (Suratmba) and (Shinka) are popular ones. We sell some of the pomegranates we harvest and the rest are either turned into vinegar or stored. We create a storing basket from acorn leaves so they are kept cool until winter comes. We truly enjoy eating it in long winter nights. We also sell some of it during winter, because it is more expensive. This basket (Qatal) is also home made from dried reeds, it does a lot of the work we need here." ...