Sunday, April 30, 2006

Children in Iraq - I

Before Kirk disappeared he wrote to a friend of ours in California. He talked about the children he saw - children in Iraq, children of war. The young men fighting now were children during the first gulf war and were raised in an uncertain era of terror and want. What legacy are todays children given? That friend quotes an email from Kirk, saying:

"In Bosnia and Kosovo I noticed...the eyes of the kids - knowing that they weren't likely to die anymore, but still so far from hope. Of course, kids are kids and can take a stick and a rock and make up grand adventures, but when war's ravages have subsided it often takes something to reawaken the spirit of belief, especially in young people. "

He was starting to talk to people he knew about setting up programs for the kids in Iraq and other areas ravaged by war and unrest. We talked a couple of times about the organizations that already existed, about the most important things to bring to these children, about the sort of resources that would be required. I still think that dream is important.

My family doesn't have the resources now to do anything really big, but we all agree that part of our healing process must include doing something if we possibly can, something for those kids.

The oldest child came up with the initial idea, inspired by the Berlin air-lift. The pilots would make bundles of candy and fit them with improvised parachutes made of handkerchiefs. The children of Berlin quickly learned to watch for the planes, and scrambled to catch the treats that sailed down. I met a woman who had been a child in Berlin at that time, and she said there was nothing more magical or memorable than those small packages. For the pilots too it was important - letting them bring a small happiness that had nothing to do with war or politics.

So our idea is to make little packages, small bags with candy (non-meltable) and little toys. We'd like to get them to the troops directly, so the soldiers on the ground can have something little to give to the kids they meet. We've designed the bags to be small enough to fit in a BDU pocket, and are trying to find toys that will be appropriate, inexpensive, and fun. (I'll post a picture later today... edit: I lied. I'll hopefully post a picture tomorrow)

We did run the idea past the oldest child's colonel, and I've been in contact with the Blue Star Mothers, but we are still trying to find a way to make the thing feasable. If anyone knows of someone serving in the gulf currently, I'd love to make contact and see if we can make this work.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion, but consider setting up an email account (like missinginiraq@yahoo.com) and provide a link in the side bar. Most people who read blogs won't contact you thru the comments section but they will write to you privately thru email.

btw, it's a nice idea.

Feel free to delete this comment once you've read it.

For Kirk said...

Probably a good idea - I'll look into it tomorrow.

Dee said...

check out the unicef site
http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/iraq.html

For Kirk said...

Thanks Dee - I've added that site to the links.