It has been just over a week now that my team "The 4:18 to Tikrit" assumed ownership for the Red Cross office in Tikrit. Initially, I wrote about the difficult adjustment to small-base life in Tikrit, but I have settled into my new routine and am finding myself increasingly satisified.
Part of that stems from a lot of changes that we have made to the two rooms that make up our office and canteen. As I mentioned earlier we are located in a communal building with several other offices and we have been allocated 2 rooms, one for our office and next door, a space for our canteen. I talked about how the lack of ownership for the office space contributed to a sense of detachment from our services and relatioship with the troops. Well, we've really attacked the rooms in this last week which I think has provided us with that missing sense of ownership. We've rearranged the furniture in the canteen to open up the room and make it more inviting (it is only 12x12, approximately the size of my CHU). We've put a table cloth on our coffee table and acquired some plastic covering from one of the dining halls to protect it. We put this really neat little table in the center in the room to serve as a coffee table. It is a wooden table painted white with the words "We were with you then...we're with you now" inscribed in red paint with a hard plastic cover on the surface. All in all, we've had people stopping us over the past couple of days relating how much they like the changes and we have noticed an increase in the number of people trafficking the canteen.
We also bake bread here two times a week with a bread machine. Bread night has been established on Wednesday and Friday and it happens on my shift so I get the pleasure of playing baker twice a week. The bread is all prepackaged so last night I made Hawaiian Sweet Bread and added a dash of cinnamon which had the entire hallway smelling like French Toast!