Today we travel to the center of Nineveh Plains, to the beautiful town of Bakhdida. This was a great day for everyone, because we got to share the day with our friends from Europe who were also in the country for Akitu.
The population of Baghdida is 99% Assyrian. The town is in a disputed area, the Iraqi and Kurdish flags are flying above at the checkpoints. We were met by the local ADM Branch, and town council member, and AAS representative who provided detailed information about the town, development, and needs.
The development of the town has progressed, but steps towards growth are occurring at a very slow pace. Funding from the Iraqi government for projects were increased to $8,000,000 dollars for this year. Although Baghdida is 99% Assyrian, the local council is made of 12 members, is comprised of 11 Muslims and only 1 Assyrian representative. This hinders the Assyrian representative from allocating funds and projects that are of benefit to the majority of the population.
Development in the area has occurred, many successful businesses have moved here because of the opportunities it provides. We visited a chicken factory. The owner of this factory, an Assyrian from Alqosh, owns and operates three of these factories, each housing more than 13,000 chickens! The eggs from these factories are sold throughout Iraq. There was also a new private school being built by an Assyrian investor. This will be a private elementary and high school.
While in Baghdida, we also visited Ashur Radio, a 24 hour radio station which broadcasts throughout the entire Northern Iraq. The setup is amazing with a live studio, programming rooms, and an operations room.
Just outside of Ashur Radio, we had the pleasure of witnessing a group of aspiring soccer players who were playing in a very poor area filled with rocks and debris. Of Couse, the rough playground did not discourage them from playing soccer.
We ended our day, by coming together at the local amusement park in Baghdida for an amazing lunch that was prepared by our local guests. Special thanks to the ADM branch for everything.