"I hope there's no more war in Iraq"

Location On the balcony of hotel, overlooking downtown Amman | Mood Tired and tiresome | Date 10 August 2006
Author (full name): 
Franny Armstrong
On the balcony of hotel, overlooking downtown Amman
Tired and tiresome
Pet Shop Boys, It Always Comes As A Surprise: "I can't be cool or nonchalant Call me an impulsive fool, you're all I want You may be right, it's too much too soon To talk of love all night, in your bedroom"
10 August 2006

Met up with the family from yesterday this morning. Filmed a great interview with the mother (Rasmia) and then were happily sitting drinking tea when something kicked off between Rasmia's brother and sister and a full-scale slanging match ensued. Never quite established what that was about.

But took the opportunity to play with the kids. Jamila, the 8-year-old daughter, was fascinated with the tripod, so I showed her how to pack it up, which is a little bit difficult. She got it straight away and practised over and over till she could do it as fast as me. I found this very touching - shows how desperate she is to learn. None of the kids can go to school as they are illegal.

Jamila and younger sister, Noor. Jamila and younger sister, Noor.

Photograph: Sabri Hakim


(One of the many projects Kulood is working on, is setting up a temporary school, but she has come to a dead-end through lack of funds. So Lizzie and I volunteered to help, and we all spent yesterday afternoon doing vox pops with 20 or so kids, which we can use to help raise funds back in the UK. Funny what they all wanted to be: doctors, engineers and, wait for it, accountants.)

Then Lizzie asked Jamila what her favourite activity is and she said, "I hope there's no more war in Iraq".

Driving off in the taxi afterwards, we were both getting emotional about Jamila. Der-ding! When will we ever learn to trust that first emotional reaction?

And we've learnt a lot more about the brother, Malik (aged 16), stuck in Iraq. Turns out that his medical problem they mentioned yesterday is all-over burns from hiding behind a haystack when the Americans bombed their village. Haystack caught fire, his clothes caught fire.

Kulood explained to Rasmia that her organisation can help with passports etc for Malik to join the family in Jordan.

Der-ding, part two! There's our story: the war-torn brother and sister trying to reunite. Perfect.