Thursday, May 3, 2007
Observations from the Road
Hello, folks! It’s so wonderful to finally have some down time to sit and focus on my blog. Last week’s entry was a little hurried and I rushed to get something on the page to let you all know I’m still alive and well. As my friend Max used to say, “I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kickin’ contest.”
This week, I welcome a member of my favorite (dripping with sarcasm) service, the mighty United States Air Force, to my realm. He comes to me with 18 years of service and is dedicated to excellence. MSgt, welcome…Now, get to work.
I went out with some of the guys on a local mission and got some interaction with a few of the locals here. It’s amazing that a few pens and pencils doled out with a smile can make a kid’s day. I have attached pictures of the outing for your viewing pleasure.
Also amazing to me is how different this culture is from ours. In America, we have a government and we trust that government (sometimes) to provide certain services for us, such as promoting the general welfare and providing for the national defense. Well, here, the local tribe will take care of most of these issues. For example, the Sheik will have his people and all business that deals with his people will go through him. Business deals between the locals and the U.S. go through the Sheik and he sees to it that his people are taken care of. He is the negotiator and executor of all contracts dealing with his people. So, in exchange for water or use of a certain piece of land, or whatever, he ensures that the people on that land or who have right to that water are tended to. The Sheik has an incredible amount of power – more so, in most cases, than that of the government.
Another thing – Mark the Euphrates River off of my list of things to see. I find it incredible that this land used to be known as the Fertile Crescent. While there is vegetation directly on the banks of the river, there is literally nothing growing farther than 200 meters from the water line. It’s gotta be the global warming…Dang Babylonian kingdom with their chlorofluorocarbon-laden hairspray! What on earth were they thinking?
Enjoy the pictures and take care. A, E, L, I love you!