October 25 – Saturday

The 3 of us from the band that were going to the class in Kuwait were given the day off because of our upcoming overnight flight.  I slept until about 0945 and once up, I did computer stuff and crocheted until about 1330 when I left for the palace parking lot.  It RAINED most of the monring, really hard at times, and there was thunder and lightning.  The internet went out for a little while due to the weather.  It was MUDDY when I headed out at 1330, dropped a bag of laundry off on my way to the palace.  Since I had the day off, I was able to go to the Scout meeting.  And because it was my second meeting, I got my Scouting in Iraq "uniform" t-shirt.  That was pretty cool.  There weren’t many kids there this week due to the weather, but we still had a great time with the ones that were there.  We did the human knot as everyone was arriving, and we had some jump ropes out there as well and the kids enjoyed learning how to jump rope.

After the opening ceremony during which the kids sang the Iraqi National Anthem, they split into 2 groups – boys and girls.  The girls started at Line Dancing, the station I was volunteering at.  There were 3 of us adults and we taught them 4 dances – Chicken Dance, Cupid Shuffle, Cotton-Eyed Joe, and one other that I can’t remember.  We adults demonstrated the dance first while our translator talked through the steps and then everyone got to try it.  After we had taught all 4 dances, the girls went to knot tying and the boys came to dance.  Talk about a workout – doing each of the dances 4 times.  But everyone – kids and adults – had a great time.  Even some of the Iraqi parents (dads) joined in with the dancing.  The kids really enjoyed learning something new.  After the closing ceremony, the kids (and adults, too) got to choose tons of snacks to take home – several HUGE boxes of stuff had been donated for the Scouts.  You should have seen the armsful of food and the smiles on their faces.  I wish I had thought to take pictures of the kids getting their food. 

Once we were done, some of us (including me and my friends DG and MD) went to a small Iraqi restaurant for dinner.  It was Iraqi food, prepared and cooked Iraqi style.  There was a big hunk of meat just hanging in the open air and the cook was preparing the food bare-handed (no gloves).  It was cooked on an open-fire grill – meat, tomatoes, and onions, and then served with bread, kind of like pitas.  Everything was delicious, especially the bread.  We all ate our fill and then near the end of the meal, most of us had a cup of traditional chai tea.  That was really good as well.  And I guess an Iraqi meal/social event isn’t complete without smoking the hookah, so some of the guys did that.  I did not partake, but it smelled good – fruit tobacco.  Finally all was done and we headed home.

I got to chat with Ryan for a little while before I had to head to the Battalion with my stuff for the night flight to Kuwait.  We had to wait a couple of hours at the airport before our flight (I read) and then I slept on the flight.  The flight was about an hour or so.  Once we landed, there was the usual briefing and then we got to go.  There are some 10th Mountain Division guys in Kuwait, and they met us to drive us to Camp  Arifjan – about an hour and a half ride.  We finally got our weapons secured (they don’t carry weapns here – kind of strange not having my trusty M16 on my back, but kind of nice as well) and to our billets about 0630.  The females (4 of us) are in an open bay with about 49 bunk beds, but it’s really nice.  We each get a locker for our stuff and the latrine/shower is about 10 feet from the door of the bay – inside!!  And the lights are off from 2200-1700, so that’s nice.

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