I spent another 24 days up in the NAG. Different than the first time I was up there. The HMAS Stuart was there. I got to see friends and make a few new ones. Of course, it was nice to catch up on the latest in lives of RAN Runner (who’s picture is included in the article) and Gerbil (who considers himself very unphotogenic). Added to the list of friends are H, Dingo, Jody, a group of engineers and electronics techs who helped me make a couple of ice cream can antennas. Everyone keeps asking me if I’m ship’s company yet. I tell them not yet but I’m working on it. RAN Runner is pulling together the paperwork so that I might begin the process of joining the Royal Australian Navy. Hum, that would probably count as another adventure.
I made some friends out on the terminal too. I spent a little time talking to the Iraqis who work the terminal. They work out on the terminal for a week and then go home for a week, then back on the terminal. Most of the guys I talked to had been working there for ten years or more. David has been there for ten years. He’s seen a lot. Under Saddam Hussien he was paid fifteen dollars a month. No food was provided so he had to either bring food with him or fish for his dinner. Now, he makes $300 a month and the food provided to the workers on the platform is very good. Fresh meats and produce and the staples necessary to bake bread there on the terminal. David is very happy about what the Americans have done for his country. Not ‘to’, ‘for’. I heard an interesting story. It seems that some Syrians came down into Iraq and were shooting at American forces. According the story, Iraqis got weapons and shot the Syrians. Syrians told them they were there to help Iraqis. The Iraqis pointed at the American forces and replied, “no, THEY are here to help us.”
It was kind of exciting to be in Iraq when sovergnity was returned to the Iraqis. Now that I’m back in Camp Patriot I see that the press is doing their best to play down the fact that President Bush and the United States have kept their word and turned over power to the Iraqis. But out on the terminal it was interesting. The Iraqis had a huge celebration when they heard that sovergnity had been turned over. They baked cakes and had feasts to celebrate. They shared their feasts with us and said thank you for what you have done for us. The Iraqis that I talked seemed pretty clear on the idea that if they were to have a chance at a future for them and their children, their best chance lay with the Americans. Whatever the politicians and others say, what we’re doing here is about 25 million people who now have a better future than they did eighteen months ago.
I hope I get another chance to go out to the NAG.
It is getting hotter. It is not as unbearable as I thought it might be. It is damned hot though.
Music has an interesting affect on us. I was listening to my iPod out in the NAG when the song Ku`u Home O Kahalu`u came on. I started crying. The song talks about how we change and how important it is to allow and accept that change. Beautiful song. I wonder what Ku`u Home O Kahalu`u means? Anyone know?
We live in a new place now, Camp Patriot now. The move happened while I was up in the NAG. Air quality is better here, as are some of the amenities. Toilets are all Port-Johns which isn’t really quite as bad as it sounds. They are cleaned often. The tents are comfortable enough. There’s a pool and a beach here. All in all, not a bad place.
It’s good to be back. It’s good to be blogging again. If you’re stilling reading, thanks for hanging in.