After escaping an Iraqi bomb attack, surviving a 72-hour flight across the mountains and enduring several nights' sleep in the sleet, Gule Saleh finally had something to be thankful for: peanut butter.
"God save George Bush, that he is helping us with the airplanes," said the 47-year-old Kurdish refugee, sitting in front of a tent.At her feet were two peanut butter jars, scraped clean at lunch Monday by her family. As evening arrived, she placed uncooked rice on a tin dish as water boiled over a campfire.
The food dropped by Western military planes and ferried in by truck is beginning to fill the stomachs of the 100,000 Iraqi refugees at the mountainous Isikveren border settlement.
Life is still grim. There is a serious shortage of water at the camp. Babies die. But Mrs. Saleh's family feels it has survived the worst.
The family's saga began about two weeks ago as Saddam Hussein's military was trying to put down a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq. Warplanes were streaking over its hometown, Zakho. Suddenly, a bomb tore into the family's building. Three of Mrs. Saleh's nieces and nephews were killed, along with four neighbors.
At midnight, the family - Mrs. Saleh, her husband Ramazan Abdur Ahman and their six children age 7 to 18 - were heading for the border.
"We were crying," she recalled. "I was so unhappy that I left my home, my people."
For three days and three nights, the family trudged through the mountains, stopping only occasionally for a half-hour's rest.
"In the snow I was falling all over," she recalled. "There were many stones. We died from fright."
Finally, they made it across the range of mountains dividing Iraq and Turkey.
"When we crossed the border, we became so happy and relieved," said Mrs. Saleh. "We were no longer afraid."
But little awaited them on the Turkish side, aside from troops instructed to keep the flood of refugees from moving into the country.
For two days, the family had nothing to eat and no shelter. Sleeping outside, they were soaked by bone-chilling rain and sleet their first few nights.
"It was snowing when we came," said Abdur Ahman, 46, a black-and-white-checked scarf wound around his weatherbeaten face. "Many people died of cold. Our family is still sick."
After a few days, they received plastic donated by local Turkish Kurds and Turkish officials.
One of the clear plastic sheets still forms the family home - a tent held up with sticks and lined with blankets brought from Iraq.
Only in the past few days have they had enough to eat. When the U.S. aid planes began dropping supplies a week ago, the family didn't even have enough water in which to cook the packages of macaroni and rice.
"Most of the family just ate the rice raw," said Abdur Ahman.
The effects of more than two weeks without bathing are becoming obvious. One of the teenage daughters sat outside the tent Monday, combing her hair into elegant curls. Her bare feet had turned gray with dust.
"The last time I washed was in Zakho," said Mrs. Saleh, pulling a strand of dirty hair from under her white scarf to make a point. "All the children need a bath."
The family was cheered by the transfer of about 2,000 refugees Monday from the mountainside to a well-equipped camp in the Turkish town of Silopi.
They said the refugees were being moved according to their Iraqi hometowns, to keep some order.
"Everyone is in a hurry to go, but we have to accept it," said Abdur Ahman, who was a street vendor in Iraq.
The family's hopes for the future remain hazy. They do not want to return to Iraq while Saddam stays in power, but don't know who will take them in.
"First, for the future, we want water to wash," said Mrs. Saleh. "Second, we will be very happy if we are saved from Saddam."
She looked up at the heavens.
"I am praying to George Bush for help," she said.