Sophia's Peace Work

Monday, June 14, 2004

A, my translator is leaving me for another foreigner! Waaaaaaaah! It's just because he pays better! And he is cuter than me!

More explosions today ... we ended up heading straight for it in our taxi this morning ... got pretty close ... a convey was hit, six Iraqis and five contractors were killed.

Anyway, doing fine ... just a bit frustrated about the situation here. I was at a waste water treatment plant today that Bechtel is working on (one of the many western contractors feeding at the public trough here in Iraq) ... there was surprisingly little work going on. We went to their outfall pipe ... since the plant isn't working ... the sewage of 3 million people is just pouring into the river. It reeked!!! There are three waste water treatment plants in Iraq ... all under Bechtel contract to bring them up to design capacity ... all together they represent 10 distinct units. Only two of which are working (just started a month ago) ... the rest will come on-line (so they say) between September and December. But even when all of the plants are finished, they won't be big enough to meet the need. Al Kharkh Treatment plant is designed to handle 205,000 cubic meters per day. But the current flow to the plant is over 650,000 cubic meters per day. There really are no plans to deal with the capacity issue at this point.

As we were returning to the main office of the Rustimiyah South plant (located on the south side of the Army Canal where it empties into the Diyala river, a tributary to the Tigris), we bumped into some Bechtel types ... I tried to introduce myself and ask them a few questions ... but it was quickly obvious that they wouldn't say anything to me.

They told me that I should get "permission before coming on-site ... for security reasons." I wonder what kind of security threat I could possibly pose? I just smiled at them, shrugged my shoulders and told them I had come with a representative from the Municipality of Baghdad. Bechtel is fixing the plant but, as far as I know, it still belongs to the city of Baghdad.

Anyway, pictures soon ... I promise!


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