Posts Tagged ‘Baghdad’

It’s about scale

June 26, 2011

Let’s see.  Some things that I have learned this week.

1.  Treadle sewing machines are in need.  I think that, to a “T”, all of the teams in AF see the need for them.  They are a game changer.

2.  They would need to be sustainable.  I don’t know about you. but I look forward to a time when there are fewer or little or no US Forces in Afghanistan.  So, local parts, local repairs, local services for the machines will be important over the longer term

3.  There are a bunch of others working on putting more sewing and fiber-related goods into Afghanistan, in support of the CSTs and FETs.  Check here to see. They have a whole other scale of effort underway.

4.  And yes, there are folks looking at the economic aspects of it, too.  Like Thunderbird.  Really — that Thunderbird.

5.  it’s way to hot here.  I went for a run last night, leaving around 8pm, and it was still 107 degrees.  10 miles and some time later, after I’d cleaning up, it was still 97 degrees.

So, that’s what’s weighing on my mind these days.  Bundles, super secret projects (#6 should kick off in about a week), and sewing machines.  Oh, and that work these — there are still some angry / pissed off / violent people here in Baghdad, and we’re doing our best to help our battle buddies in the Iraqi Security Forces as they work to advance the security both of the city and the region.  Never a dull day, never a dull day….

Fallujah and Bin Laden — things I never thought I’d say together

May 2, 2011

Just a couple things – it’s late, I’m tired, and all that good stuff.

1.  thank to all of you for the nice notes and emails today, regarding the recent military operations in the Afghanistan / Pakistan areas, in order to capture / kill Usama bin Laden.  I do appreciate your kind words and well wishes.  The jokes of the day was, of course, “Thanks, but you do realize I am in Baghdad, and that’s nowhere near Pakistan, right?”  All jokes aside, it’s good to see operations go smoothly, it’s good to see our Joe’s make it in and out OK, and it’s good to see that they hit the objective and the target was there.  Intelligence drives operations, or so they say.

2.  Fallujah.  Wow.  thank you, all of you, for all that you have done to help with Fallujah.  With it being rather remote, bundles will surely take some time to make their way to Fallujah.  But that’s OK.  You all are awesome for helping.

3.  I’m gonna take a short pause.  I’m going to have to let my foot off of the gas for IBOL for this month, and work on, well, work.  No, it’s no bin Laden’s fault; my battle buddy is on R&R, and I’m swamped.  Asking people to put bundles into the mail by the end of April was no accident; I saw this train wreck coming even back then.  So, bear with me while I bear down and try — try! — to do the work of two.  This should be interesting — the wailing and gnashing of teeth you hear is likely me.

4.  OMG, OMG, OMG.  June will being the next round of IBOL.  The big push, pre-Ramadan (which kicks off around 01 August, depending on the moon — really).  Why is it OMB?  I won’t be IBOL.  Yep — sealed the deal.  We’re pushing stuff to Afghanistan.  Maybe a little bit more to Iraq, we’ll see, but we have AWESOME plans for Afghanistan.  Get ready to get giddy, it’s gonna be a ball.  If you’ve enjoyed the secret projects, or enjoyed helping Iraq, or found solace or goodness or reward in helping with IBOL, I suspect you’ll find the same or more when you hear how this is going to play out.

But first, some sleep, some work, a little bit of food, and even some running.  Yes, besides all this, I am back out there running, and making noise about making a run at the Kauai marathon in the fall.  I’m too busy these days to run a fever, yet somehow I got it in my head to train for some longer running.  Egads.

But sleep.  That’s next.

And thanks.  Thank you all for tagging along on this mighty adventure.  Thank you for helping out in ways I never dreamed possible.

The dangers of Iraq

April 18, 2011

If you think life in Iraq is easy, I can tell you it isn’t.

And if you think life will be just perfect on the US Forces leave, well, it won’t.

CNN and other news agencies are reporting on two suicide car bombs that are said to have detonated at the International Zone in Baghdad, what was once called the Green Zone.  The reporting seems to all indicate that the bombers set off their devices outside of the IZ itself.

So what? Well, the IZ isn’t controlled by the US Forces.  It’s controlled by the Iraqis.  And outside the IZ?  That’s just called Baghdad.  That’s where the Iraqis live and work and carry on with their lives.

These weren’t car bombs that killed mass amounts of Americans, or sent a message to the US population.  They were an attack that wounded and killed Iraqis, that reinforced the fact that even after the American Forces depart, there will still be strife and conflict in this land, likely for a very long time.

Should US Forces stay?  Would that make a difference?  That’s not for me to decide — hell, that’s not even for me to think about.  That’s an issue for the Iraqis and their elected leaders.  In a sovereign nation, these are the things that weigh on the minds of the people and the shoulders of their leaders.

But know this – it was a tough day to be an Iraqi.  Night has fallen, the moon is out, and it’s quiet near where I am.  I know that out here in the city, families mourn while others care for their wounded loved ones.  That won’t change in 2012, when I am home with my family.


April 13, 2011

I meant 400.  Apparently, counting is not my string suit.  That, or I can’t read my own handwriting.  The Baghdad 500 surge has brought it about 400 bundles.

And yes, Super Secret Project 4 is still underway.  Wonderful, awesome response from probably 50+ folks.

Oh, and for the record, I don’t think it’s cool for anyone to leave their alarm clock set, and to leave their room.  Some yahoo has had their alarm going off, unattended, for what I am guessing is a good long while.  I’m back in my room now, with enough time to blog this, get changed and go to sleep, but even old-deaf-IBOL-guy can hear the beeping coming from however far away it is.  Phooey.  Party foul.

The Baghdad 500

April 13, 2011

So, how’d we do?

We did just fine.  Box count for Baghdad right now stands at about 350, with some more in the mail.  I suspect we’ll max out around 400 by the time they’re all here.  Short of 500, but still a fine set of some awesome bundles for use in some of the tougher neighborhoods here in the city.

So, thank you.  Very generous of you all to help out.  We do appreciate it.

The high score

February 18, 2011

So, what’s the high score, you ask?

That’s a very “guy” question, I know.  Guys ask things like that.  But I’ll tell you anyway.

31.  The high score right now is 31.

When the planets align, and there’s a full moon (go check), and there’s cash in the wallet, and a stash to be busted, the high score becomes 31.

By the way — I am in awe.  You all see how giddy I get over one box, or photos of a bundle being made.  31 boxes?  Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Anyway, i think I am caught up on email right this second.  Which means I should log off before more start to come in.  I’ll be on the road for a couple of days, so understand that it’ll be quite time for me – no emails, no twitter, no FB, nothing.  I’ll be…. reading a book, I guess.  Is that what that’s called?  I mean, it’s one of those bound paper thingies, like pre-Kindle.  So, I’ll check back in, in a couple of days.  If you need the address, leave a comment — just know that it’s going to be a couple of days again before I can answer it.

So far, so good

February 6, 2011

so, no — bundles have not started to clog up the mail room here.  I expect that will start later this week.  We have a crack team of marsupial standing by, to move them all to the new IBOL Transcontinental Processing Facility (ITPF) here in Baghdad.  I’ve got my camera battery charged and I’m just waiting.

I have, though, been out and about some.  And trying to do some good.  Yesterday, I dragged with me (anything but kicking and screaming) one of our lieutenants, an Air Force one at that.  She hadn’t left our base since she got here.  Got her into a Rhino for a ride to downtown Baghdad, to the International Zone.  Got her out around the IZ, even to the crossed sabres that have been in the press lately, and even over to one of the places for a tour.  And when all we done, I managed to get us onto a Blackhawk for a ride back to our HQ — another first for her.  Of course, she had to have ice cream after dinner, since it was THE BEST DAY EVER (her quote, not mine).  So, yes — I’m trying to do good, while waiting for the boxes to arrive.

Here’s me and one of my guys, at the palace.

Here we are in the helicopter — check out that smile. I even managed to get her a window seat — she spent the ride staring out and taking photos.

Right now, folks have told me of about 35+ bundles that are already in the mail, but also that another 100+ will be getting into the mail.  I know there are some guild meetings coming up to which folks have said they are taking the flier, so I think — so far, so good.


February 3, 2011

Well, there you have it.  In the quick rush, to date, folks have said they’re going to put 92 boxes in the mail.  And today is only Wednesday.

The best part, though, is that there are another 100 people to whom I’m sent the details, and from whom I’ve not heard back yet.  So, I think we’re doing OK so far.

And thank you all, for your kind emails and comments.  You know, that’s one of the things that really makes this such a fun project — good people.

The other thing, of course, is stuff like this.

Hello, hello, hello

January 2, 2011

Sorry about that.  I’ve been off of the net a lot lately, settling into and adjusting to a renewed life in Iraq.  While it is saddening to be away from home and my awesome wife and kids, It’s good to be back in my old familiar second home.

So, let’s talk about a few things.

I am spending some time every week talking with others about IBOL.  From what I’ve seen and heard, it sounds as if IBOL3D can remain below the radar.  And I like that.  I have found partners in arms in Baghdad and I think in Anbar, in the military and maybe even in the embassy.  I’ve at least found what I think are good contacts with which to move forward.

What will IBOL3D look like?  I think it may well turn into a multi-phased operation.  I think we may be able to kick off IBOL3D earlier, and that it’ll happen in waves.  It won’t be one mailing address, it’ll be a few.  It won’t be to one place, it’ll be to a few.  It won’t be a little bit neat, it’ll be awesome.

And speaking of awesome, I have been neglecting to put out reminders about the awesome $26 challenge.  My little envelope of $1 bills is growing very nicely, thank you very much.  How is yours?

Oh, and before I forget — some eye candy.  I am indeed alive and well.






More on the box count, distro, and Houston

October 26, 2010

Busy time here in IBOL land.  Let’s review the bidding.

1.  The box count totaled out at around 900 — which, i have to say, is pretty darn-tootin’ awesome.  I’ll let you in on a little secret — moving by hand all those boxes in IBOL I just about broke me, and I was worried IBOL II would be the death of Nahed.  But she sent me a nice note (more on that in a second) and said that yes, the boxes have all arrived, and that it came to around 900 boxes.  I gotta say — that’s a very fine and respectable number.

2.  Thank you.  I think I’ve said it a few times this time around, but let me say that again.  Thank you.  I’m squirreled away in my quiet life in Hawaii, Nahed is busy making the world a better place in Hawaii, but you –all of you — are what has made this go-round of IBOL such a huge success.  Thank you for your caring, for your generosity, for your willingness to (gasp!) bust your stash in order to reach out and help others.

3.  And Nahed, if you’re reading this, let me again say, oh so very publicly, that you are my hero.  You have made my year.  I had thought IBOL was going to be a one-time hero, but you said you were game and that you could pull it off, and you sure have.

4.  Distro is still ongoing.  I’ve got some photos that Nahed sent, and a wee-bit of background to go with them.

In the middle there, I think, is Ms. Alcy Frelick, the head of the Office of Provincial Affairs at the US Embassy in Baghdad.  She was up in Salah ad Din, visiting the Provincial Reconstruction Team (where Nahed works) and had time to see some of the great things the PRT has been doing — and to visit a local sewing coop, where everyone regaled her with tales of IBOL.

I just love that, the world over, everyone makes cute clothes for kids.  And that red one on the bottom?  It could almost be a Happy Zombie special!

I think I mentioned this before — one of the local radio stations, just north of Tikrit and near the city of Bayji, has a radio station that is both active in the community and active in a lot of women’s issues.  The station was, and I think still is, run by a woman from the area, and she has been a strong supporter of IBOL in the area.  In conjunction with the visit from Ms. Frelick, the station came down to do some interviews as well.  How cool is that?

Do you see yours in here?  Someone will, I’m sure.  These are another example of why I love, love, love the bundle design — a snip here, a snip there, the box comes off, and poof, a bundle of love.  Awesome.

OK, so it’s a little out of focus.  But look — look at the all the thread!  Yahoo!

5.  And Houston.  OK, folks — in a week, the family and I head to the airport and fly across the Pacific and half of America, to meet all of you in Houston at the International Quilt Festival.  Shoot, the excitement is just about going to kill me — or drive me to song.  We’ve got some new threads, a handy-dandy new iPhone so we can take and post photos and videos, and yes, 1000 IBOL business cards to hand out.  Egads — I am sooooo going to be out of my element.  But, I will do my best, and I promise to be nice and police and courteous, and if that fails, to hide behind my kids and made their cuteness will you all over.  I’ll try to make some time to post some of the photos here, but if you want to see it while it happens (and yes, I’ll try to remind you again right before this all kicks off), I’ll be posted a whole lot to Facebook at the little IBOL corner of the world there.  So, grab you family, grab your camera, grab your IBOL shirt, and come meet us in Houston!