School Vacations in Iraq

When I was a child I attended boarding school in England, and my vacations were spent in Iraq where my father was an engineer with the Iraq Petroleum Company, working on the oil pipeline based in Kirkuk. My mother had died when I turned four, so when I visited my father I had to have someone to look after me while he was at work.

Nuri was the man my Father chose, and he became my friend, overseer, playmate and guardian for the hours my Father was away. Generally the men who worked on the pipeline would leave about 4am and work until about 10am while it was still relatively cool, and come home for lunch and an afternoon siesta, leaving again in the evening when it was cooler to check the jobsite.

Nuri would see to my meals, take me swimming at the club house pool and buy us lunch and then we went to the afternoon cartoons that were shown in the local cinema.

I had a swing in the backyard and I remember worrying about all the little lizards that were everywhere, I was scared to get off it, in case the big mother came around the corner. I thought the geckos were crocodiles. I would sit there until Nuri came and got me.

I wonder what has happened to Nuri now, is he still alive, of course he would probably be in his 80’s now. There is a good chance he is dead I suppose.

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