Posts Tagged ‘Delivery’

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!

Organization of Iraqi Family /OIF

September 26, 2010

The Organization of Iraqi Family (OIF) came by to pick up some bundles — 78 bundles in all.  Nahed thinks she’ll have some photos back from them later this week.

01 October is fast approaching — is there anyone else you need to tell about IBOL, before the clock runs out and IBOL II comes to a close?

[UPDATE:  Photos are starting to trickle in via email!]

Photos from last winter

September 21, 2010

One visitor has asked me why there aren’t photos of the end state – photos of the things being actually made with all the materials being made.

Well, I have a couple that I got from Nahed recently.  Here is the link.

Why there aren’t more is a bit complicated.  Part of it is that the original design of IBOL, intended to be during Ramadan last year, was to enable the Iraqi security forces – we put the bundles into their hands, and they delivered them (though sometimes with US Forces along at the same time — sometimes).  It’s my understand that it’s culturally acceptable during Ramadan to show such generosity — which is why I think delivery went so well.

Following up afterwards, though, then becomes more difficult.  I never designed any sort of mechanism for that.  IBOL was about empowering and generosity, not reporting and metrics.  I never asked anyone to file some report, to follow up on anything.  In fact, I’m not sure how I’d be able to do that, even if I wanted.

But, there are a few photos.  Take a peek.

We received the five first boxes

September 7, 2010

That, according to Nahed.  I was guessing that it going to be later in the week, but this makes for an excellent way to start a short work week!


January 14, 2010

Intrepid Army guy Matt is still delivering bundles in Northern Iraq, in the Kurdish region near Sulaymaniyah. Matt is working with Iraqi units operating in the area and along the border with Iran. These units are working out in the remote regions, in some desolate areas that don’t get a lot of support from anyone – small villages along the Iran/Iraq border.  This photo is from their recent trip and delivery to Chuwarta.

It has to be pretty tough going up there these days.  Those mountains get cold, and that area gets some snow.

Much thanks to Matt and the units helping with this.

IB♥L delivery: Salah ad Din

December 17, 2009

Today, I got some new photos in the mail. It’s from an early December delivery in Salah ad Din, to a women’s sewing co-op. They’ve been trying to get their small business off the ground, so to speak, and the bundles will surely bring welcome additions to their stashes as well.

The man in the picture (I think) is Dhafir A. Abdulkareem Al-Ani, Chairman of the Iraqi Family Organization. It was the Iraqi Family Organization that helped with this delivery — Iraqi relief groups helping Iraqis.

And no, I’ve not been resting on my laurels. In addition to the IB♥L World Tour and some writing while hidden away in the mountains, I’ve also done some running recently. The training that I was starting at just about the same time IB♥L was starting, came to a close this weekend when I ran the 2009 Honolulu Marathon (and did not come apart at the seams, so to speak).

So — does anyone recognize these bundles?

The End of Phase 2b

October 18, 2009

Wow, I’m a bit tired.

I got up last night before midnight, in order to go and meet the forklift guy and the truck guys. One 10k forklift and two eighteen-wheeler trucks in tow, we went out to IBOL World HQ and Warehouse, and loaded the six pallets onto the trucks. Loaded, the trucks rolled away and headed to the container yard, where they’ll likely hang out for a few days before moving on. The hour was late, the dust was blowing, so I broke out a disposable camera someone had sent me a while ago, and took a few pictures; it’ll be weeks before I can get them developed and posted.

I have, more or less, figured out how to distribute 3445 bundles. I never thought that would happen, folks.

This week, those six pallets, representing around 1500 bundles and about 12,000 pounds of love, will head to Kirkuk City (map). Five of the pallets will stay there, with one of our combat brigades, and the sixth will get cross-loaded and head further on into the Kurdish region to Sulaymaniyah (map).

So, about 2000 bundles made their way our into my neck of the woods, and the rest are headed to Kirkuk. This might not seem like much to you, but it means a lot to me.

Saddam Hussein is from these parts of the woods. Part of what had me thinking about this whole IBOL thing was wanting to make some kind of a positive impact on this area. Thank you — there are two thousand bundles coursing their way through this area. Which is pretty fantastic.

And if you watch the news as much as I do, or maybe even a fraction of what I watch and read, you’ll know that Kirkuk is… interesting. It’s disputed. It’s debated. It’s seemingly tied to most every other topic here in Iraq. At times it’s been led by Turks, Arabs and Kurds. It’s rich history, diverse people and mixed cultures makes it a land, a city, a community in need of some, well, love.

My year here is almost up. I’m working with the unit replacing mine. My kids are counting the days until I leave Iraq, for what may well be the last time. When I was young, Iraq was a re-emerging leader in the Arab world, but faltered and spiraled downwards under Saddam Hussein. But even during the darkest of times, when this land was being ravaged by war or hate or strife, I’ve held out hope that I’d be able to help do something to move this country closer to not just peace but the greatness it is capable of. I never would have guessed it would be this — almost 3500 boxes, packed by some amazing and great people, distributed here, there, and everywhere in northern Iraq.

So, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I have two more things to do. Well, okay, three. I’ll be in touch with the folks that have these last 1500 or so, and I’ll see what I can get from them to share here on the website. I also know that there’s a small snippet on IBOL in our own unit magazine, if I can every get my hands on the digital version of it.

The second thing is to see what if anything will carry on after I leave here. The warehouse is still there. CSM Flores and his crew think their replacements will support is being used the same way — if someone does something crazy like this. I need to find that someone, I guess. I’d like to leave here with a name and an address, and to be able to tell you to send what you want, when you want – I have no idea if I’ll be able to put that together.

And lastly, I need to look back at this whole thing, and do some writing. For my unit, for the Army, I need to capture what this was, why it worked, and what can be used again. This IBOL thing was pretty powerful; I’d hate for the Army to not learn something from this little undertaking. I’d like some crazy dreamer out there to have that crazy dream, and not have to start from complete scratch like I sometimes felt I did. Why think tens when you can think thousands. Writing about this, teaching the Army about this, is my Phase 3.

Thanks, IBOLsters!

Two last things, before I call it a day and go to sleep. Who saw my wife’s quilt in Houston, and who took a photo that they can send me?

And who is going to be near either Eugene or Beaverton, Oregon, before Thanksgiving? The IBOL Guy Family World Tour will be kicking off then, with stops in Oregon and the mountains east of San Bernardino, CA. Coffee’s going to be on me, and the locations will be small fabric and / or yarn places.

A picture is worth a thousand words

October 8, 2009

4-1 BDT IBOL Delivery

That’s folks from 4-1 INF BCT, dropping off IBOL’s and some other humanitarian assistance to one of the small villages not too far from here. At some point, we started to remove address information from the boxes, and moves the bundles in the boxes — much easier to manhandle that way. But yeah, that’s a village-worth of IBOL’s and other HA, all stacked up. And smiles. Lots of smiles.

We built the last 4 pallets tonight, too. We finished after dark. I’ll go back and take pictures again in a couple of days, when my arms have recovered enough to hold a camera. We built 4 x pallets, each with ~266 bundles. You do the math and tell me how many boxes we just carried.

Iowa builds a pallet

I found a special bundle that just had to be shown off. Anyone recognize this one?

Anyone? Anyone?

Signet found her special one, too. Pretty cool.

Special Find for Swan

Some good, some bad

October 5, 2009

So, plans went afoul Sunday, to build the last 4 pallets. I had asked a few folks to come and join me, and to meet me outside our HQ so that we could all go over there. I got no responses, save for Swan, but when the prescribed time arrived, I was waiting, alone.

I found out later that yes, other were ready to help, but had headed out to the warehouse instead. Whoops.

So, we’ll try it again on Thursday. I’d do it Wednesday, but there’s — wait for it — rain in the forecast. Rain!

On the good news side of things, I saw a photo today, of bundles being delivered the other day. Now, I’m trying to track down the photo so I can post and share it. But I saw one. 500 to 800 bundles later, and there’s one photo — that ratio seems out of whack, if you ask me. I guess we’re better at delivering bundles than taking photos of delivering bundles.


September 27, 2009

Well, luck would have it that near my office, one of the departing units loaded up their shipping containers and hauled them away. In doing so, they left behind their dunnage .

Which I swooped in and grabbed up yesterday.



See those few boxes? Those are, I think, the last bundles to arrive. Who claims the title of Last One to Arrive? Marion Moise, 3/4 of the world away in Mt. Waverley, Victoria, in Australia.

Dunnage in hand, I made a few phone calls, and late last night, they dropped off a stack of six pallets. Hopefully, in a couple of days, we’ll be in a position to start loading them up.

Stashed dunnage

(I had to hide the dunnage, so it’d be there when the pallets were dropped off)

In the meantime, one last link and a photo.

CSM Flores and I

That’s me and CSM Flores, the guy who owns the warehouse. He gave me a key. No, I don’t go and sleep with the bundles.

And here’s the link. Swan posted some photos from the visit this week by the orphans.