Sunday, September 06, 2009


On any given night in Kurdistan (and likely the larger Iraq), you can wander around at 11:30pm and still see children playing in the streets and in front of their houses. Families wake up and go to sleep at the same time. Parents don't see the value in putting their kids to bed and enjoying a little adult time... or using the quiet time to finish up their own chores. While it is lovely that more of children's waking time overlaps their parents', what about school? Studies show that children in elementary and middle school need 10-12 hours a night of sleep. Is it any wonder then that children in Kurdistan often nod off during class? It is an obvious that cognitive performance is lower when you lack sleep. .. as my own performance can likely attest (I often have trouble falling asleep).

But really (I apologize for my negativity) I am writing to complain. Now it is Ramadan and the decibel level of late night revelry is elevated! Many people do not see fasting as a way to push their limits, but rather they adjust their schedules so that they are asleep all day (hence the fasting is no great strain) and awake all night. And after iftar and a prolonged feast, a number of Naz City residents sit on the grass in the garden near the parking lot at the side of the M building (beneath my bedroom window) and laugh and talk into the early hours of the morning. Last night they were so loud (not only talking and laughing, but also clapping and making those loud trilling noises normally made during dancing) that I woke up. The clock read 2:00 am. I was so annoyed that I actually leaned out the window to ask them to be quiet. To their credit, they again lapsed back into merely talking and laughing.

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