Saturday, September 24, 2005

24-Sept 1:00 pm Baghdad

Blogged on watching the increadible destruction of Hurricane Rita (note, I was born in Port Arthur near the eye of where the storm is going through). Looks bad for all of you back home, but I know Texans are opening up their homes and hearts once again to help out.

Yesterday (9/23) we visited one of three refineries in Iraq, the plant in the Al-Dora area of Baghdad. Very good visit with the plant manager as well as a tour of the plant ... smelled just like home. Good statistics about what is going on with gasoline, etc. to follow in an article later.

We then took a driving tour of the entire city. Good photos and videos. Our translater knows the Baghdad well. Spent about 3 hours touring and seeing everything from where people live, and what conditions, to bombed and burned buildings, places of fighting, etc. Traffic was light due to it is Friday which is generally a holiday. Few stores were open. Lots to see and we're sharing photos with one another on the team.

Today (9/24) we spent this morning interviewing one of our friends to learn about conditions of food, living, etc. in Iraqi Middle Class. I was able to get some video before the camera ran out of batteries (the electricity was off so I county plug in). Next we went to visit the Iraqi Al-Amal Association...a women's rights organization lead by a very brave woman (exiled from Baghdad for 25 years). They have been active in the north of Iraq since 1992 and returned to Baghdad after the US invasion. Very outspoken and critical of the proposed constitution. More on this later.

This afternoon we will spend visiting other religious leader(s).

I will probably be unable to blog for a few days since we will be traveling to other parts of Iraq. I will tell all about this trip when it is over (security remains a BIG issue for all concerned).

Peace, Charlie

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