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Chaplain in Iraq: Name of the game is mud when it rains

POSTED: October 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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State Rep. Doug Collins is serving as a chaplain in Iraq.

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Editor’s note: State Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, currently is in Iraq as a U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain. He began his service there in September. He is reporting weekly on the activities at his location.

I know that I am in the land of the Old Testament, but I have to share that this week I could have swore I saw Noah or one of his distant relatives looking around for wood.

The reason for this sighting is that the rainy season has hit our part of the world. Understand that the normal rainfall around here is about one inch a month. That doesn’t sound like a bunch until you realize you are not in Gainesville.

The problem here is that the ground is nothing but hard clay. I have talked about the dust that comes with the clay — well let me tell you what a joy it is when you have the dust mix with water.

The outcome looks something like the sandwich creations that my boys make back home when they are turned loose with the peanut butter and jelly.

When the rain started the other day I thought "Wow, this is interesting." The thunder clapped and the rain would come down hard for about 15 minutes, and then it would stop for about two hours, then do it again.

It felt like someone was up in the clouds turning the spigot on and off just to see what we would do. By the end of our rain event, everywhere you go you see the once prime, dull, brown, dusty desert land turned into a field of 10,000 lakes.

In fact, I e-mailed my family some pictures to show them that I had purchased some lake front property here in Iraq. The water line comes within five feet of my door.

What was a short 100-yard walk to the restroom facilities became about 200 yards because of my new lake. I think I will call it Lake Lanier East. If I could capture it all and send it home, I would.

The one thing that we have, though, that is similar to Lake Lanier is a lot of mud. And as I described earlier, it sticks to you just like those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We have a special term for it — we call it MUDCON. We love acronyms in the military. MUDCON means that we have such a bad condition that you must take two pairs of shoes with you when you go to the gym or other large meeting areas. And you have to pressure wash your vehicles to keep the mud off the roads as best as possible.

So as I finish for this week, keep us in mind as we trudge through the mud and navigate around newly formed lakes. I leave with this in the midst of all of this chaos in which rooms were flooded and conditions generally were miserable. I am riding by a place on base during one of the downpours and I look over to my right and some airmen had taken a life raft and were floating around having a big time. I tell you, it’s all in how you take it. Have a great week.



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