I enter the home of Mehdi and his young wife. I'm amazed at how well-equipped it is: satellite dish and TV, washer-dryer, even a blender. Mehdi tells me that they'd like to have a legal home but anything was better than living as a refugee under Saddam. His only complaint is that there's no bus to take children to school. He says work is pretty good. He is a mechanic -- and judging by the condition of the crumbling cars and trucks we see around here, I'm certain he has little trouble finding work.
He has a new baby daughter, named Kashmera, an Iranian name. Many Iraqi Kurds have relations across the border in Iran. Even in the worst of times here, I'm always amazed at how many Iraqi friends and contacts of mine are having children. To me, it is one positive sign that people here believe in their and their children's future.
As we make our way out, we are surrounded again by more children. I look at them for small signs of change. Their clothes are a little bit cleaner than I remember last time. They all seem to have good teeth, often a rarity in Iraq. A few know some words of English, which most study at school. Some sport American hip hairstyles, gelled back and neatly trimmed on the top. They are Iraq's future and I wonder to myself what their lives will look like in five, 10 or 20 years.
Jim Sciutto is the London correspondent for ABC News, and since moving overseas in 2002, has reported from more than 25 countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including multiple assignments in Iraq.