Monday, July 07, 2003

Master Sgt. Michael Mathews of Manhattan, Kan., went from coordinating the supply of fuel, food and ammunition to tank crews making their way north into Iraq to being a makeshift designer who came up with the plans for the market. Goat sellers in one section, chicken sellers in another, vegetable dealers past the sheep pens.

Under the direction of "market manager," Sgt. Anthony Mottas of Junction City, Kan., workers have nearly completed the first section of the project, placing more than 1,500 cinder blocks a day. Ingram likes to tell the sergeant the completed project will be named "Mottas' Market."

"This is new to me," Mottas said as workers hurried back and forth around him in the morning heat. "From artillery to civil affairs."...

Community leaders have already prodded Ingram, trying to coax him to give stalls to friends and relatives. A recent sign up for future stalls led to long lines, short tempers and a crowd of people waiting in the hot afternoon sun for the chance to operate a booth.

"People around here just don't understand we don't need a bribe or a pay-off for them to get something," Mathews said. "It's a really different way of doing business than what we're used to."

It may not be much, but when the market stalls are done, they may be all some families have for an income. Where there had been nothing, there will be commerce, trade and money flowing into one of the poorest parts of Baghdad.

Good stuff. Read it here.

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