Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Good News from Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff has a summary of good news from Iraq .Here is an example:

Also in Sadr City, soldiers from the First Cavalry Division's First Brigade Combat Team "teamed up with local children and cleaned a trash-covered area in the middle of an eastern Baghdad neighborhood, converting the land into a park. Infrequent visits from the city's trash trucks and no trash bins for people to use had resulted in what was turning into a trash dump, threatening the health of those living nearby":

Seeing U.S. vehicles entering the area, local children ran to meet the soldiers and ask for candy, which soldiers often bring for them. This time, however, the soldiers distributed tools that the children could use to help in the cleanup. "Kids always approach us and want candy, but this time we had something for them to do. We wanted to encourage the local children to help themselves by using the rakes and shovels we provided to help clean up," [First Lt. Gerald] Kubicek said. "Since there were a lot of kids out there, we gave school supplies as a token of our appreciation after the work was done."

Kubicek said getting the neighborhood energized was essential to the success of the project. "We tried to draw the community together by getting different families to help us with this project," he said. Since trash disposal had been the problem that made the field unusable in the first place, a trash pit was constructed so families have a centralized place for refuse.

The following day, a local contractor delivered two swing sets and other playground equipment, giving local kids a place to hang out and play soccer, the Iraqi national pastime. "Now we have a nice, open park, two swing sets, and a place for them to deposit their garbage, instead of having it laying all over the place," Kubicek said. "We have a vested interest in giving something back to the Iraqi people. Projects like this one are a reminder that the American people are here to help."

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