Today, January 30, Iraq’s international borders are closed, the airports are shut down and traffic across Baghdad has been halted. All in preparation for the elections that will take place tomorrow. 14,000 candidates are competing for 440 seats on provincial, district and sub-district councils in 14 provinces. Due to unresolved issues in the remaining 4 governorates the elections there have been postponed. Three Sunni candidates were killed two days before the provincial elections, one in Mosul, one in Baghdad and one in Diyala, which brings the total number of candidates killed to 6. Different from the last provincial election, the candidates actually have their names on the ballots, their are election posters with people’s photos on them all over the place and the Sunnis will participate, they did not participate in the last election in protest.
Meanwhile back on the base, life goes on. Today is Friday, my half day off. I woke up at 6: 57a.m. to what sounded like someone tromping around on my roof. I went back to sleep and woke up to a downpour. I had plans to go to brunch at a restaurant on base and was worried that we wouldn’t go because of the rain. When I stuck my head out of my trailer it was raining sideways.
Brunch was still on and I went with my colleague Java and another humanitarian aid worker Fabiola. We walked over to a restaurant. After brunch I had a vanilla latte at the specialty coffee shop. We did a little shopping at the NAFI store and I learned there is an American APO address here which I’m very excited about. I might try and organize my room today.