Sampling on the River - Bombs in Baghdad - Drive to Kut - 30 September
Because we can't float much of the river in Baghdad, I requested to at least visit one other sample location higher on the river, so two of our guys gave me a ride up to Adhamiyah, a neighborhood in the northwest of Baghdad. It only takes me about an hour to complete the sampling but half way through we heard three of the nine car bombs that rocked Baghdad today.
It was some distance to the north of us and apparently it was Shia neighborhoods that were targeted (I just learned that about 60 people were killed ... you can check the Al-Jazeera reporting on this HERE
). So I had to hustled to finish ... there was no real concern that we were in danger but when bombs go off in Baghdad, the "Seytirat" (checkpoints), which are all over the city, tighten up and sometimes even close down. We were far from our office and needed to get back to move on to Kut for the next leg of the Flotilla.
Sure enough, once we were in the car we were quickly stuck for nearly an hour in stop and go (more stop than go) traffic due to a checkpoint we needed to pass through. We eventually decided to do a 180 and circle around the city via a longer but more open pathway get back.
Our morning sample location in Adhamiyah (that is a dredger behind me ... this was not the best location or way to sample but we had little choice).
My trusty helpers!
Once we were finally back in the Baghdad office (after the usual delays), we finally got loaded up and on the road to Kut ... this will be our next put-in for the flotilla. Kut, which is in Wasit Governorate, is the gateway to southern Iraq. It was also the location of an important battle and siege during World War I. The British, lead by General Townshend, captured the town from the Ottomons in Septmeber 1915.
The Ottomans, under a German commander, Field Marshal Baron von der Goltz, then set siege to the town and all attempts to relieve the british under the siege were ultimately unsuccessful. Over 20,000 British and Indian soldiers died in the attempts to retake Kut and Townshend eventually surrendered in April of 1916.
The landscape as we approached Kut
Our put-in along the river in Kut. Tomorrow we float down to the barrage (a 1930's addition courtesy of the British) and will host an event there the next day.
Abu Haider, Rashad, and our host, Mehdi (from the Ministry of Water Resources), having a bit of cold instant coffee.
Sunset over the Tarada
When we arrived we found out that our raft had been left behind ... I had been worried when I heard that the equipment had be sent on ahead. Whenever the core team is not present for equipment loading & unloading, that's when we have the most problems. But the boat will be sent down tomorrow morning and we should be back on track. Live and learn.