They say a picture tells a thousand words, I saw this picture in the archive at our organization and it really told me not just a thousand words, but a thousand stories. It was taken by Jula Haji, on the way between Erbil and Makhmour.
It tells a lot about our young people today. This picture is not posed and they didn't know it was taken. We assume they are a brother and a sister. If you zoom enough into the picture the girl has a school book in her hand (studying!) and the boy has a little note book that he is reading. Both of them are studying--educating themselves. This picture made me smile. It made me smile because it reflects the importance placed on education in our Kurdish society today.
It is evident both kids come from a lower middle class family (if not lower class). By observing the load at the back of the pickup truck I am almost certain the father sells goods for a living. But the fact that both kids are studying, and reading at the back of the pickup truck show me two things 1) the understanding that kids have on the importance of education, and more importantly 2) their willingness to study
On many occasions I have walked into shops in the local market where a young boy is running the shop and studying at the same time. I wish that all our kids had the luxury to study in the best schools despite their family's financial status. I wish for all our young people to study and enjoy life without worrying about other responsibilities that they are too young to have their shoulders. But unfortunately this is not the case.
I imagine what would happen if I put a group of kids at the back of a pickup truck in some other places in the world: they'd take out their phones and play games or begin texting, they'd sleep, listen to their Ipods, make jokes or do nothing. How many of them would read? Or study?
So that is why, my dear reader, when I see young Kurds like this (as much as I hope they didn't have to be in this situation) I feel deep contentment. Today, the way to go far in life is by education. The way to make dreams come true is through education. The best way to happiness in the long run, begins with education. I am just happy they realize this.
Somehow looking at the picture, I feel there is a feeling affection between both the girl and the young boy. The picture does not take me inside their minds, nor does it allow me to listen to their words. But it lets me feel that they have dreams, they are believers…This is just another small incident of my life here in Kurdistan, teaching me yet another life lesson.
*The picture was taken from the front seat of our car by a close friend, Jula Haji, during a project we had for the locals in Makhmour.