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School Supplies
Lots of people send us school supplies to give to the children here in sunny Iraq. On this day, we were doing just that. We brought a trailer load of school supplies to a school in a local village. When we arrived, school wasn't in session, but the local people, especially the children, came out to greet us and receive whatever it was that we were handing out.

We passed out small things to the kids - pens and pencils, notebooks, crayons, toothpaste and tooth brushes - but we wanted to give the majority of the supplies to the school. Here's where it gets tricky. The principle wanted us to give him the supplies, but one of the teachers said that we should wait and give them directly to the children. They said that if we left the supplies at the school, the Insurgents (which they call "Ali Babba") would immediately come and take them. Others said the principle would sell them, and still others said that the teachers would steal them. It's hard to know whom to believe. Luckily, I don't have to make those decisions. My job was to pull security while all these things were going on, and take the occasion photo.

In the end, the people who make these decisions, with the help of our translator, decided to make a compromise. After passing out several box loads to the children and their parents, we put three or four more boxes in the school, and took the rest of the trailer back with us to distribute another day, when all the children were there. As we pulled away from the schoolhouse, the children and their parents stormed the little wall that surrounded the school. They were over the wall before we were 100 meters down the road. I imagine they believed the children would never see those supplies if left up to the school.

Monday, September 13, 2004
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