Monday, September 14, 2009

Black Monday

Our drawdown is gaining steam. Today, most of our support contractors were notified that their services will no longer be required and that they'll soon be sent home. Some will leave in as soon as two days, while others will be here for two or, at most, three weeks.

I don't know quite how to make the impact of this event clear to you. Many of these people have been here for two, three, or more years. Some arrived in the summer of 2003, when the war was still fresh in everybody's memory. These people have seen our presence ramp up, they lived through the insurgency, they survived mortar and rocket attacks, and all the while they built bridges and water treatment plants, schools and electrical substations, clinics and oil pipelines, and literally thousands of other projects. Their corporate memory is phenomenal. But now we're drawing down, with only a couple hundred projects still ongoing and very few left to start. Fewer projects means fewer people to monitor and manage them. So all these people with all this experience are going home.

Their work is going to fall mostly on those of us who are employed by the government, whether civilian or military. It's going to be very difficult for me, personally, I am certain of that. I've only been in-country a year, and working for the Corps for five months, so my corporate memory is pretty small. (My wife says that all my memory is pretty small ... and I won't argue that point!) So I'm going to be back on the steep side of the learning curve again, probably starting tomorrow. Damn, and I was just getting to the point where I thought I knew what I was doing!

A friend of mine from the Embassy visited us today. He and I had a good time catching up on the news ("hey, didja hear about ol' (fill in a name here)?") Later, I took him over to Flintstone Village. I visited it back in May and wrote about it here. I saw a few interesting changes. Most notably, a local Boy Scout troop came in and painted over the graffiti in some areas. Here's what one room looked like in May:

And here's what it looks like now:

Quite a difference! The marks you see here are not graffiti. The Scouts have painted the walls with prints of their own hands, flowers, and birds. Here's another section of wall in the same room:

Of course, some other bozos have already started tagging the freshly-cleaned walls. Let's hope they get sent home soon, before they can do any more damage.


  1. Wow, I remember your first post, that's great that the scouts made it pretty!

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/15/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. Just discovered your blog. Looks like I have 3 years of reading to do.
    I think having people go home, is just like a big family company closing down.