So yes, I neglected to mention that a few months ago, I committed to join my church’s “exploratory team” heading to Northern Iraq.
Long story short, I’ve been interested in Iraq ever since I worked at the White House and the Administration was sending people over there left and right. At the time, I let my fear of killing my parents stop me from looking into the opportunity. But now that I’m in my 30’s, I figure they’re just going to have to get over my life choices. …and even so, I still waited to tell some of my family until like the day before I left. Baby steps…
The trip was basically to send a small team to visit with folks on the ground and see how we can start partnering with them longer term. We weren’t entirely sure what all we’d get to help with, be it refugees, helping to further middle east and western relationships, or simply working alongside our friends in the Christian community there who are trying to meet various needs around them and also hold onto their faith in a sometimes dangerous environment. Turns out, we got to help with all of the above in tiny ways, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Per usual, the adventures started before I even left.
I go to a travel medicine doctor to find out what random vaccine I need this time. And my confidence in the doctor steadily decreases as this unfolds:
1. She shows me a map and indicates shaded areas, telling me “oh, looks like you’ll be in places with high malaria risk!”
Then shortly after… “oh wait! That’s not a risk map, that’s an elevation map!”
So I nearly got injected with something because Kurdistan has mountains? Awesome…
2. She read my chart wrong and casually said something about me being treated for tuberculosis. (See back story to the TB situation here ). She ran off onto other things when I finally piped up with an “Um…wait, I think that piece of paper actually said I did not go through treatment. I definitely don’t recall experiencing a 9 month treatment in the past and I think I would’ve remembered that….”
“Oh you’re right! It’s says here you actually declined that! Let me just change that on your yellow card then….”
3. She comes in to give me a typhoid shot and looks down and says “woops! Wrong needle tip!”
*takes off running* (just kidding, I stayed put. And prayed. Hard.)
So in the end, who knows what all was swirling in my blood stream as I finally boarded the plane and headed into Turkey for our layover.
Next stop, Istanbul.