A man from Potton has just returned from six months in Northern Iraq working with the charity Samaritan’s Purse in their relief efforts helping refugees in the country.
Gordon McCann was joined by Eldred Willey from Norwich in working with the charity to provide aid to those who had been displaced by Islamic State (IS) incursions in the country.
I will remember a land full of children not receiving education, a land full of people who are generous, a land where men stand around talking as they have no work, but mostly a land where there is great need for support from other countries.Paul McCann
During the relief efforts the duo encountered many heart-breaking as well as inspiring stories from the women, children and families they helped.
Gordon said: “At a distribution of jackets a young girl of about 10 appeared on her own.
“The expression on her face was one of extreme sadness.
“A couple of weeks previously she had been visiting her uncle when IS arrived at her parents’ home and took them away.
“She now feels very lonely. I cannot imagine how lonely and isolated she feels, having no parents and living in a place she has no knowledge of.”
The primary focus of the mission in Iraq was to save as many lives as possible and this involved fighting against the snow.
By the end of their time, Gordon and Eldred had distributed 29,000 warm winter jackets and 12,000 thick fleece blankets as well as shovels, fire extinguishers and formula milk – anything which could help families survive.
Eldred said: “We were racing against the snow which was spreading down the slopes towards the valleys where thousands huddled against the bitter wind in summer tents and abandoned buildings.”
On returning to the UK Gordon has been in a reflective mood after witnessing the devastation in Iraq first-hand.
He said: “I will remember a land full of children not receiving education, a land full of people who are generous, a land where men stand around talking as they have no work, but mostly a land where there is great need for support from other countries.”
Gordon is now keen to go out into the local community and talk about his experiences in Northern Iraq.
If you are a community or church group interested in hearing his story from the man himself you can contact him through using the Samaritan’s Purse head office.
The number to call is 02085 592044.