Eating an elephant

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

You all have been asking about distribution. And I have not been going into a lot of detail.

When this was small, it was going to be easy, and it was easy. Fifty here, fifty there — stuff that fits in a pick up. With not too much trouble, I was able to push probably 200 out into the local area with a couple of the units from the base at which I am assigned.

But as that was happening, we here at IBOL World HQ were dealing the flood. My eyes were either rolling back in my head, or they were popping out of their sockets. One moment I’m in awe at the sheer numbers, and the next I’m listening to the clicking and clacking of the gears turning inside my head.

Now, I’ve joked about all of this being done without the approval of anyone. I’ve joked, but it’s totally true. Almost every aspect of this IBOL thing has been done on a very personal basis — reaching out to individuals, telling them about IBOL, ad bringing them on to the team, so to speak. About a week ago, the guy who runs the warehouse told me that he had approached one of the big units on our base, and that they had agreed to distribute it all — lock, stock, and barrel. Suddenly, everything I had in the works for distribution was put on pause — we had a solution.

Well, that didn’t last long.

So, I reached back out, to counterparts (in rank) with three of the other big subordinate units — located across northern Iraq. I wrote up a short note, explaining what it was all about, and suggested they contact me if this sounds like something they’d be interested in supporting.

Two replied, in about 3 seconds flat.

The plan? Make some of these:


These 463l pallets, or just plain pallets as we call them, can be loaded into helicopters or onto trucks, and moved to our subordinate units elsewhere in northern Iraq. From there, these pallets can be broken down into smaller and smaller clusters, and finally delivered. I’ve got a bunch more “coordinating” to do, and a ton of paperwork.

This won’t be complete this week. It’s going to spill over past Ramadan. IBOL — it’s just that big. When you order a burger, and you get an elephant in a bun, just expect that it’ll take a little bit longer to eat. But eat it just the same — one bite at a time.


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17 Responses to “Eating an elephant”

  1. Mary Ann Scanlon Says:

    What a lovely problem to have! And so cool too that everyone on your side is excited and pitching to help too! (Well OK, I imagine there has been some yelling and asking..what WERE you thinking!)

  2. Junior & Orion and their Mom Says:

    You just needed a little more time than you thought… big deal. There is enough team players over there to get this handled.

  3. erinisright Says:

    I’m glad we could help out! It was fun to see warehouse and all the packages from everywhere! I even got to drive the 5-ton over, first time ever!

  4. EmilyM Says:

    I am not surprised you found help with your ‘problem’ folks love to get involved, esp. in a what can I do to help situation…….give ’em a job and watch it get done!

  5. MsMauri Says:

    You ARE going to need the Chinooks after all!!!

    And you are only planning on NORTHERN Iraq? The Festival Brigade got involved fairly late in the process…they are the ones who got the address in an email so didn’t have to ask you for it…remember…all 55 thousand of them? And as the nice lady said…anything they get involved in tends to get a bit large…so you are really thinking only one elephant burger? only ONE?

    Sitting here, laughing and crying with joy, all at the same time…

  6. Gerrie Says:

    All I can say is WOW!

  7. Kit Says:

    That’s pretty thrilling, actually! And I am really glad that you were able to find willing accomplices so quickly. What a lot of love. 😀

  8. Nanci Moy Says:

    This is so exciting and can’t wait to see the delight in the eyes of the Iraqis with all the love wrapped in the IBOL fabric bundles. God bless you and all who have helped you pull this off on your end.

  9. Sarah in STL Says:

    Somehow not surprised you found other so willing to help…good news travels fast….this is going to be even cooler than first thought….do you need anything from here?

  10. Kay in Boston Says:

    Is the plan to distribute DIRECTLY into the hands of the end users (the women) and try to bypass going onto the black market?? Know that it is a very different world over there. Hate to be a downer in the group but the intentions are so good and so much love (and time and effort) has gone into this that I would be saddened to see it go awry at this point. Best of luck in this phase. And still wanting to send you more stuff!!

    • IBOL Guy Says:

      The bundles should be stay with US service members through delivery. Even when done with our partnered Iraqi police and army units, the US folks will most likely be there for delivery.

  11. gail norback Says:

    If only all the little beavers could run over to help….sigh…we are thinking of you though! Such a truly wonderful idea. Thanks again! Gail Norback

  12. Kristin L Says:


  13. Kathleen Says:

    You’re doing a fabulous job, Art… We are all having just a fabulous time seeing this project come to fruition!!!!

    Thanks for making sure the bundles are safely delivered to the women!

  14. Gwen Campbell Says:

    Yay! I KNEW you’d find a way to make it work! And I knew that people would come forward to help – just like people came forward with IBOLs! 🙂

    You gave us more than a chance to reach out to a sister seamstress – you gave us a reason to believe in the good in the world. There’s no way we can ever repay you. Thank you. 🙂

  15. Melissa (The Daily Mel) Says:

    What wonderful news! I’m so happy I saw this in time to be a part of it. 🙂

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