First Visit to Basra

New Adventure, or Just Detour from Figuring Out Life?

Last several months have been a tough time for me. I had been out of job for a while. The plan I had - or lack thereof - when I left Dubai in early 2016 did not go as I imagined. Photography was the one thing that carried me through these times. So when I received a phone call about a potential job to work in Iraq, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. Had it been a year earlier I would have said no for the obvious reason, i.e. the perceived danger of working in a place with recent history of war and violence. I was going to join an international oil company, and they assured me of all the safety measures they had in place. Besides, the prospect of seeing a new place, going where not many people would go is exciting. It would also be a chapter of my life to document through the camera. 

My first shift went pretty fast. I guess it was adjusting to a new routine, to working life again after a long time, and getting to know new people. The work hours were long. As it’s a site job and shift-based, we have to work non-stop for 28 days straight. There is not much life after work, and we aren’t allowed to leave the camp due to safety concerns. Actually, 4-week shift is considered a gold standard for foreign workers here. Some have to stay a whole year in the camp.

Some nights I couldn’t sleep. Did I make a right decision? This seemed like a short-term solution, while avoiding the hard question about life’s purpose and finding your place in this world.

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