Saturday, 4 April 2009

Promotions & Pools & Pups

So I've had an unusually eventful 24 hours. You may have heard me reference what's known as "Groundhog Day syndrome" which is used to describe the lack of variation in daily routine while deployed due to that fact that there are no days off and the weather rarely varies. Apparently the groundhog has seen his shadow cause he's nowhere to be found!

First off, Friday afternoon I was invited to a friend's military promotion ceremony. She was being promoted to First Lieutenant at the most prominent and secure building on base because it houses the Garrison. I discovered this first hand when I attempted to breeze through the security checkpoint with my military ID and got thoroughly blocked by the Uganda guards who insisted I could not enter without the necessary badge. Fortunately there was an MP who overheard our conversation and he managed to get me an escort inside. The ceremony itself was somewhat surprising. Before the ceremony, held outside in the expansive gazebo, everyone was lounging and socializing and then LT Colonel, who presided over the event, showed up and everyone snapped to business and it became totally no-nonsense while she was promoted. Then afterwards, people broke out the cigars and dug into the food and it was back to chilling out.

After the promotion, I headed to the office to meet my teammate and together we were going to bring some video donations out to Freedom Rest which is an extremely unique aspect of the base where I reside. Freedom Rest is the military's equivalent of a resort where servicemembers can go when they receive their 4 day R & R which is too short to travel to the States. When we arrived at Freedom Rest we were lucky enough to be taken on a tour of the facility and it truly is the closest thing I have seen to a luxury setting (excluding the pre-existing palaces in Baghdad). The floors are shiny and tiled, the cherry couches are a glossy leather. The servicemembers can go and place their meal order off a menu where it's then delivered to them by a waiter. There is a movie theater, the most up to date technology and best of all, two Jacuzzis and a pool! The highlight of the trip came when our tour guide, a KBR employee said that since the servicemembers come on 4 day cycles there are the occasional off days when no one is there and she promised to email when the next one came up!

Finally, today my teammate and I got up early to play with the Combat Stress dog. You may remember when I was in Baghdad I was able to play with the Specialized Search dogs. The Combat Stress Dog is a pilot program run by the Combat Stress Clinic where the pup, a Black Lab named Boe, is actually a therapy dog whose sole purpose is to ease the stress and increase the morale of the servicemembers. My teammate and I met the adorable "Sergeant First Class" Boe who immediately made my heart ache with happiness. How do dogs do that?

The best part is that I spoke with Boe's handler and we have plans to host a morale event nicknamed "Pool Party with Boe". Because she's a Lab, but never gets the chance to swim out here, (I can relate) we are going to purchase a kiddie pool and hold the event in our building's courtyard which actually has a lawn with real grass and access to a hose. We'll buy doggie treats and people food and advertise the event around base. Boe is so popular out here that I have hope the event will be a great success!

No comments: