Najaf--I returned from Baghdad last night. Over coffee this morning, I filled the father of my host family in on my trip. I told him it was wonderful to see everyone, but I only heard sad stories.
A few minutes ago a fierce wind rose, blowing the trees and dust and everything in its path. We hurried to close the windows, but there was no way to prevent the fine powdery dirt from entering. It covers everything. The weather seems to fit my mood somehow. There are forces beyond our control.
Yesterday in Baghdad I was able to visit with two families who both have grown children in the U.S. The parents of a third family, whom we know from Syria, met with me briefly on a quickly decided location, one of the roads that exits through the concrete walls encompassing their neighborhood.
I wanted to give them a package from the states, and they were hesitant to have me come to their neighborhood, an area which has seen much violence and conflict over the last years.