Just a note to let you know I arrived safely back home yesterday evening (Friday). Below is the last letter I wrote from Baghdad.
I would be delighted to talk to groups, large or small, about Iraq and Christian Peacemaker Teams. (Their website is www.cpt.org)
Dear friends and family
Today is Tuesday 16 August, my last full day in Baghdad - for this trip anyway.
Yesterday there were several incidents, probably because it was the day the constitution was meant to be published. Of course that never happened - they
have delayed it for a week to try to iron out differences.
There was a suicide bombing in our neighbourhood, Kerada, targeting a restaurant used by policemen. In the morning some team members went to the Ministry of the Interior. When they got there, a little late, they learned that there had been a mortar attack just a short time earlier. We also heard a very loud explosion at 9.30pm - we thought it was nearby because of the noise, but apparently it was in the Green Zone (where most of the government offices, US embassy, UK consulate etc are). One of our translators witnessed someone being shot in their car on his way home, and we know there were other incidents.
The electricity was off for 5 days the week before last. About a week ago there was an article in the newspaper saying that electricity would now be supplied for 3 hours, then off for three hours. For the first few days it seemed to be two hours on, four hours off, which was a great improvement. After a few days it got worse again, sometimes on for two hours, sometimes 1 hour, sometimes off for four or five hours! We have the generator, which runs at night because you just can't sleep in the heat otherwise.
Yesterday and today we have had to be extra cautious about water. We usually save the water we rinse clothes in, or the water from the shower to flush the toilet anyway, but we are having to be even more careful. When the water is supplied our landlord pumps it up to water storage tanks on the roof - even if there is no electricity when there is water he can use the generator power. (Many people have to hope that they have water and electricity at the same time!) Anyway, there has not been water for a while, so the supply in the tanks is low. We buy bottled water for drinking and cooking.
This is my last full day in Baghdad. Given the difficulties getting here I decided to fly to Amman a day before my flight home - which is on Friday. Thank you for all your prayers and best wishes whilst I have been here. Please continue to pray for the
people of Iraq.
Jan Benvie's e-mail: email@example.com
Christian Peacemakers website: www.cpt.org