Meetings in a Village in Iraq or Afghanistan

You say “Salam ua lakum” while placing your right hand to your heart, then shake hands with everyone in the meeting.

You are then brought to the head of the sitting area, farthest away from the door and placed in the seat of honor (to the right of the Sheik). You sit as best you can, usually cross legged so as not to expose the soles of your shoes to anyone.

You start light conversation with your host, through your terp (interpreter) while the youngest male children brings you and the rest of your team some fantastic tea.  Conversation continues for quite some time, you feel like you are finally making some progress in meeting with this head man of the surrounding area, and so it goes another day of winning hearts and minds.

For active duty military, government workers, PRT team members, civilian contractors, please if you’ve conducted meetings with both Iraqi and Afghani leaders please tell me about it. I would love to know the particulars and how it went, what were your experences…

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