Growing fruit and vegetables at a 30-acre urban farm has provided Kamo Zandinen sustenance for her family and a window into her past.
Preparing the soil, planting seeds, adding water, and fertilizing transfers her mind and soul back to Sinjar, Iraq, to the days when she cultivated vegetables alongside her husband and seven children.
Two or three times a week during spring and summer, she gardens at the Land of Dreams, a long-gestating initiative launched 11 months ago by the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society(CCIS).
“Since we have begun to plant on this land in Canada, I feel physically, mentally and emotionally better than before,” says Zandinen through translator Kheirya Khidir, a settlement counselor for the CCIS.
Profound devastation was inflicted upon Zandinen, her family and the Yazidi people of Sinjar starting on Aug. 3, 2014 when ISIL forces invaded the northern Iraq town in the Nineveh governorate — an area with a long history of being the homeland to Iraq’s minority populations.