Green Zone Living

I stumbled across a few photos I took back in 2007-2008 when I lived in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq.    I was on contract at the time, training the Iraqi Ministry of Defense soldiers how to manage an IT network.  For the first half of my deployment, I lived in a shipping container referred to as a Containerized Housing Unit, or CHU (pronounced choo) for short.   Each CHU was separated by a row of sandbags, with absolutely no roof protection.  The sandbags were meant to control the blast radius should one of the CHUs take a direct hit, to minimize collateral damage.    The roof of the CHUs was so thin, we would often come home to discover a fresh bullet hole in the ceiling.  This was particularly true whenever the Iraqis were celebrating and decided to fire their AK-47s into the air.  On the nights where we had some forewarning of this, many of us would sleep at work on cots.

During the time I lived in the CHU, my company was building a villa out on the economy.  I didn’t get any photos of the villa itself, but it was basically a windowless rectangular brick building I referred to as Stalag 13.  I was able to find a few photos of the interior and the yard, which I included in this post.  Over ten years later, who knows what this building is currently used for, or if it even still stands.

The rooms were fairly tiny, but being inside a reinforced concrete and brick building, were far safer than a CHU. Every 2-3 rooms shared a bathroom, and each one had a flimsy wall locker to hang your clothes in. As a joke, I bought a bunch of Transformers stuff to decorate my new room.
The rolling laptop desk and the stuffed Optimus Prime, I had shipped to the local military base where we received our mail. I can’t imagine life there without the ability to get shipped items from the US via Amazon, Netgrocer, or Walmart websites.
I even hung up this huge Optimus Prime decal on the wall and stuck a bunch of smaller decals everywhere. Whoever took this room after me must have thought a child lived here.
Because there were so few places to put things, a popular item were these Rubbermaid drawer units. I also purchased a small fridge to keep some food and bev inside.
The rooms contained loft beds to maximize floor space. I chose to put a pleather couch under mine. It wasn’t all that comfortable.
Periodically we would have catered meals brought in. The local Arab food was delicious.
Some folks hanging out in the yard of our building. 12-foot concrete T-walls surrounded the building, and there was a Nepalese Ghurka gate guard on watch 24/7. They had the curved Kukri knife and everything. The building also had its own generator, as the power outages were frequent. The fuel tank was installed as far away as possible from the building.
One of prime attractions of the villa was the Rock Band setup. Mana a tone deaf rendition of Black Hole Sun by Soungarden was emanated here.
We also had this sweet foosball table. I’m not sure how you could screw up Manchester United into “MAN UITED”, when you have an example right there!

I hope you found this post interesting, and thanks for reading!

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