Suffer the little children
Whenever I interact with the Iraqi people, I always come away with mixed feelings. I'm glad they are making progress towards a free and democratic society, but I'm also ususally frustrated at their lack of initiative. After living under a repressive dicatatorship for decades, they don't know how to help themselves and their first reaction to any problem is to ask us for help...usually in the form of a handout.
But then there are the kids. Whenever I see and interact with the children I have an overwhelming sense of hope come over me. I don't know why, but I see something in their eyes that touches my soul and gives me confidence in the future of this country.
During the few hours we were there, they were all I focused on. I interacted with a few and took dozens of pictures of many. They are all overwhelmingly...kids. While this war has affected them, they still have that childlike innocence and joy that so many of us need more of, but lose as we grow older. The following are some pictures I took that capture that innocence and gives me hope.
Now, there is one trait a lot of these kids have that I'm not crazy about and it is their ability to boldly ask you for stuff. They ask for candy, food, water, pens, or anything else they see you have. This little guy pictured below is Hasim. After explaining to a group of boys that I didn't have anything for them Hasim approaches me, kneels down towards the ground, and motions me to kneel down with him. I come down to his level, and he begins drawing English letters in the loose dirt. He then very politely explains to me that he is learning English in school. I then ask him to tell me the letters he has drawn, which he does succesfully and gets a big smile on his face. I immediately took a liking to this smart little whip. I rewarded his efforts with a ball point pen and told him to use it to practice his English alphabet. You would think I gave him $100 as excited as he was. It's amazing how little these kids have. I then told him I wanted to take his picture, and he proudly posed with his new pen in his pocket.
He then motioned for me to give him the camera, and he took a picture of me. Like I said...he is a smart little whip.
The rest of these are just photos of kids I took throughout the day. I'm posting the ones that impressed me the most.
You can't go wrong with Elmo. Every kid loves Elmo.
I love this one. Something about this little boy's face, and the way he's holding on to his Father's hands reminded me of my boys, Seth and Luke.
This kid was all smiles all the time. Hopefully he'll grow into his ears someday. :-)
I call this one Rebel. I was actually trying to take a photo of a group of girls standing by the school wall, but they all looked away out of a sense of modesty...except for her.
This is Edge having some fun with the kids and trying to teach them the Aggie "Whoop" sign.
Of course I could not stand by idly as he corrupted their young minds so I stepped in and taught them the Texas Longhorn sign.
This was a good day.
In fact, I think this was my best day in Iraq yet.
Until next time.