Sophia's Peace Work

Monday, June 21, 2004

Some Success Today

The Ministry of Environment's Baghdad Environment office has assigned four engineers to join us on the Tigris River Boat Project Trip in July ... now schedule for July 11th. They will take water samples along the way and will provide the basic scientific expertise on the boats. It will also be their first survey of the river since the war.

Now, if I can only get the OK from the U.S. Military ... and find some fast, reliable boats ... I'm just about good to go!

I've been working with a new translator these past few days. His name is Mazin and he's pretty good. I much prefer working with a woman but working with a man has it's own advantages. Mazin is 42, just a year older than me, and always reminds me that he wants me to think of him as a friend. "Anything you need," he says, "just call on me!" He also has a car with air-conditioning! What a luxury!

My former translator, A and I used to joke about the disadvantages we faced as two women trying to do our work in an Arab society. If we were rebuffed from meeting with a male ministry official, was it because he was really busy or was it simply that he couldn't be bothered to meet two women. If we were able to get a tour of a waste water treatment plant without any special permission, was it because we really didn't need the permission or was it because they simply didn't feel threatened by a couple of women? You'll never know the answer to such questions.

But with Mazin, it's a different dynamic. He's a more powerful force to reckon with. Whereas A always stood back, waiting for me to take the lead, Mazin jumps in ahead of me. He also gets more thoroughly searched and patted down at checkpoints than I do. AlI I usually get is a desultory rifle through my bag by a very bored looking female security guard.

But Mazin is an amazing find, for in a country with absolutely crazy drivers, he is very careful and conscientious ... and without having experienced Baghdad "iz-da-ham" (traffic jams, lit. crowdedness), you just can't appreciate how truely extraordinary that is!


  • This is an interesting blog ! I'm bookmarkarkimg you and will re-visit :o)

    I also have a water world site. It pretty much covers
    water world related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    By Blogger Tim, at October 23, 2005 5:05 AM  

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