Working with people from other countries gives us the ability to learn, first hand, about what it is like in their world.  No matter how difficult a day has been, when we meet with clients from I.R.I.S. and they describe what has transpired in their lives, we realize how easy it is for us in the United States.  Eman had eight brothers in Iraq.  Now, she has only five.  So many in her family wanted to escape the war, but with children, how does a young family leave a homeland and travel into the unknown.  Worse, how can a husband leave his wife and children with only a hope to create a better life for them somehow, somewhere, after an undetermined amount of time? Wurood’s husband assisted the U.S. Army in Iraq during the war.  For five years, he worked in security for our troops.  He made many friends.  He also took five bullets. And when the war was ending, his new friends assured him that, if he came to the U.S., he’d have a job.  So, he moved his family here.  However, jobs were scarce and no one could help him. On a visit to Wurood’s home, we were invited in for coffee and homemade Iraqi cookies and cakes.  Her husband, Muhammad, was kind enough to show us some of his artwork.  Much of it was hanging on the wall—beautiful scrolled Arabic lettering in shimmering, metallic gold paint.  When asked what the lettering meant,  he explained that it was a prayer asking God why so many people are blessed with wealth, and he was so poor.  He then showed us some other items he’d painted—mostly pieces of furniture.  They were exquisite.  He’d refinished a used bureau for use in their bedroom. Around the drawer knobs were shimmering, ornate swirls in various colors that extended outward like tentacles, reaching around the drawer face, making the piece look like a jeweled chest.  He then showed us a small chair he’d designed and painted for his young son, and another piece of wall art in black and silver.  His work was unique and exciting. We plan to show his work on our website.  It’s too good not to be shared.  You will be able to find Muhammad’s creations and designs in our Local Artists category and we look forward to being able to expand and grow with this new initiative of community support and highlighting local talent.