Another amazing day! The days here are so filled with interesting things that they feel like several days have passed.
I didn't make it back to the camp I'm staying in for dinner because I was able to attend a Regional Security Shura. The major officals of Helmand and the Marines were in attendance.
It was held in a school. Later, when I asked where all the children were that attended school, I was told they had a holiday because of the meeting which they were quite happy about.
I don't know what room the meeting was held in but assume it was a general meeting room or auditorium. The 40 X 100ft room was covered with a large red carpet and surrounded by windows. Oriental carpets were in the center surrounded by red Bokara patterend pillows for everyone to sit on. During the speeches of committment from the Elders and Marines, tea was served by two boys dressed in traditional garb. They came out carrying large silver tea pots and poured tea for everyone.
After the speeches we all walked to the Bizarre for ribbon cutting ceremonies for the opening of the new shops. Then we walked to the new governement center. The Marines made an display of safety by having us all go slick, (no armour). After the walking tour we wound up back in the large pillared room for lunch. In came tray after tray of chicken, kabobs, meatballs, vegetables, fruit and rice with flat platters of naan. It was delicious and a feast. I felt guilty about not being able to finish mine, but it was enough for 3 men.
I met a lot of Colonels and Majors etc. Everyone was very upbeat about the success of the event. From my standpoint it was definitely one step forward in rebuilding Afghanistan.
I am impressed by the friendliness, consideration and concern everyone has for my well being and hope to return the favor by letting the world know that our presence in Afghanistan is appreciated. I saw this first hand.