Friday, December 10, 2004

Operation RHODE

The Fort Hood Sentinel publishes an article (researched and written by a close associate of this site) with some good info on Operation RHODE, a project designed to provide Iraqi citizens with basic food items and construction supplies. Though it's only a small example of the work going on here, a lot of Soldiers have put much time and effort into this project, and it has an immediate, positive effect for Iraqis.

‘By the Iraqis, for the Iraqis’ summarizes the CERP concept. The CERP program stimulates the local economy by hiring locals to perform work for the local community or for individuals who are poor and have not been able to get on their feet yet. Over $500,000 has been used on four iterations of Operation RHODE thus far.

Note: My associate told me about an encouraging meeting she had with a local contractor yesterday; she is responsible for paying the man after he finishes his projects. She described the man as "glowing" due to the birth of his first child--a girl. After the transaction was complete, she presented him with a small package of items she had collected from other Soldiers for the young family--baby powder, baby wipes, and the like. The contractor was so appreciative that he said the care package was worth more to him than the money he had just received (a very substantial sum).
Personal relationships like this one make a huge difference here. That contractor will probably share his story and continue working with the coalition, which gives us legitimacy and trust.