Blog article: What is so good about Hawler?

Written by Walt DeVault, 19-8-2013

As it turns out, moving here was the best decision we have ever made.

I am 62 years young and a retired American businessman. In America our family was very blessed and life was good. Maybe it was time to start returning those blessings.

Then a few years ago we began reading about and visiting the Middle East. We made trips to Turkey, Armenia, Iraq, Iran, even Israel. During that time we noticed something very different about the people in the region of Kurdistan. Over time, we began to develop a very deep love and admiration for the Kurds. We concluded, “What better place to begin the process of “giving back,” than Hawler.   

Sure, Hawler, has its problems. But what growing city of a million plus citizens does not? No city is perfect.

What we have found among the men and women of Kurdistan is a spirit of community unlike any place we have ever lived. The people here are honest and loving. They care for family and friends. The young people respect their parents, grandparents and siblings. Something American youth seem to have lost a few generations ago. 

In spite of the fact that the Kurds have been one of the most persecuted people groups on earth, they continue to extend a helping hand to others who are in need, like the Syrians, the Arabs and Iraqi neighbors to the south coming here.

In our short time here we have begun noticing changes that inevitably come with “progress.”  Some good. Others, not so good. But there seems to be no loss of integrity, pride and character among our Kurdish brothers and sisters. 

As I told some friends during a recent return trip to America, “The people in Hawler are some of the most honest people I have ever met. I believe you could leave your car windows down, put a $100 bill on the front seat and come back two hours latter and it will still be there.” Friends don’t believe me, but we know the truth. It would be “Iba” for anything less to happen.

We intend to live out our lives as residents of Hawler (In Shala). Do we miss WalMart, Home Depot, our grandkids and Disney World, certain foods and American football? Sure. Would we trade that for friends who welcome us with open arms and open hearts, and treat us like family without seeking anything in return? Yes, we have. We are proud to be here. We love our new home, Kurdistan.