Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Leaving an Impression

The thing that makes my day is getting to interact with kids. I don’t know why that is. Today we were at the Baghdad Police Headquarters, hanging around when these little girls were walking up to my Humvee. One appeared to be about five or six and her little sister was probably around three years old. I had no idea why they were there and they were walking all by themselves. There were some civilians on the grounds so it didn’t surprise me that much to see them. They had a bag full of those skinny Pepsi cans that looked like Red Bull cans. I figured someone else had given the Pepsi Colas to the girls. As they approached I called them over. I gave them the rest of the candy that I had left, mostly Tootsie Roll candy. It was assorted with small Tootsie Rolls and taffy.

The oldest girl then went around the Humvee and offered me the bag of Pepsi she had. I didn’t want to take it so I refused. She raised her hand with the bag again to offer it and so I decided to take it. It might be rude to refuse a gift in their culture. I told them thank you in English and Arabic and they started to walk away. That’s when I figured I’d give them some Gatorades. It would be like a trade, which is good. So I got down in the Humvee and got into the ice chest to get a Fruit Punch bottle of Gatorade. I thought that they could share amongst themselves. I got out and handed the bottle to the big girl and then jumped back into the Humvee. Then I figured I might as well give them another bottle so they each have one. So I grabbed a bottle of Lemon Lime Gatorade to give to the other girl. Both of the drinks were ice cold and I’m sure they would’ve appreciated that. The only thing I didn’t think of was if they were going to be able to open the bottles themselves. They might have to get someone to help them open them up.

The whole time this Iraqi Army soldier was watching me. At the time I started to wonder what he was thinking. What does he think of us? What does he think of Americans? What does he think of Soldiers? He saw everything I did and I didn’t do it to get attention, I did it out of the kindness of my heart. I don’t know what he thinks of us, but I hope he thinks that we are doing something meaningful and honorable here. As for me, I’m trying to leave a good impression of American Soldiers with the kids.


Blogger DayKay said...

I'm sure you left a great impression - hopefully one that will influence democracy in Iraq 20-30 years from now when these little girls are wives and mothers!

9/06/2006 7:35 AM  
Blogger Rico said...

I guess no one remembers, or teaches, the "don't drink anything they hand you" lesson about the little kids in Vietnam. Amazing how they could perfectly reseal a Coke bottle after putting ground glass in it...

9/06/2006 11:47 AM  

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