Think I'll run around today and get pictures before I leave Balad this weekend. A huge convoy of Iraqi police force came through this week and plugged up the roads. They park wherever. It was interesting to see their Russian-made machine-guns mounted on their vehicles. They were very excited to be here and even waved to us civilians and smiled and we waved and smiled back. They were headed out to a combined mission with our boys (and girls).
Another Iraqi gentleman was a truck driver that pulled in on my last day of work here. I will call him Ali Baba. Ali is about 57 years old and wears those long clothes that look like sheets. Yellow ones. And wears a beard. He watched me work the pallet jack to move the crates off his truck and soon wanted to try. He was very excited to learn and for an older fellow gave it the gusto. Ali was soon all smiles as he got better at it and could do it himself. Who says you can't have fun with an Iraqi?
What is funny is to see the people from India and Iraqi nationals communicate. They both talk in their native tongue and seem to understand, probably due to the hand motions. That is largely how we all communicate. We grunt and point and make directional motions with our hands. And whether we understand or not, we say "yes, yes!" and do whatever it was we were going to do anyway. the universal word "NO!" corrects us if we guess wrong. Interestingly enough, there are Chinese working in the laundromat...
Thank you all again for your notes and wishes and prayers even though I cannot always thoroughly (or with good spelling) respond. I continue to enjoy the magnimity of this experience and the financial reward is timely and welcome indeed! I am sad not to see my friends and family for those are amongst life's most rewarding experiences, but I know many generations have had to go through separation for essential causes. It's all good, even though it strains the heart. Best to you all!