When I left, some cried. But it was way before that moment that I realized I had found a new home, and a new family made up of brothers and sisters which not even distance can divide.
I had the privilege to spend two weeks in an incredible land full of beauty and contradictions, with an ancient history and a very structured society. I had been hosted by the UPP office in Erbil, and I fortunately had no direct contact with the cruel Daesh (ISIS) conflict that was only forty kilometers away.
This diary tells a story as seen from my lucky eyes, which never had to witness any of the terrible stories I had learned during this trip. This story focuses on the people I’ve met and the street art project I documented.
I had been a guest of families who lost everything overnight, who offered me the food they had with extreme joy and dignity. I’ve been playing the game of marbles with kids after more than thirty years.
I gave everything I could, but nevertheless, it was nothing compared to what I received from them.
My special thanks go to Mattia, who offered me the opportunity to come on this journey.
Erbil, also known as Hawler, is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. It is located approximately 350 kilometers north of Baghdad, and its governorate has a permanent population of approximately 1.6 million.