Drinking the Tigris: Edward

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cykuck/2654350129/ This is Edward, a Ugandan guard working here in Baghdad. When I arrived last year I was surprised to see such a diverse mix of people. Why is a Ugandan checking my ID at the chow hall? I thought it would be all Americans with a sprinkling of Brits and other 'Coalition of the Willing' personnel. Because the war has been so privatized, a lot of the less critical security work is handled by the lowest bidder. Edward's company is American, based in Tennessee, but they hire out of Uganda because their soldiers are well trained and work for cheap. We've outsourced the war that far. It's incredibly strange. Everyday at lunch you can hear different people, Airmen, contractors, anybody that's been around a while yell, "Jambo jambo!" as they great the guards in Swahili on their way to and from the chow hall.

Edward was very anxious about being photographed. He asked me over and over again, "What's this for?" The shot is behind the chow hall after his shift ended. He turned his head in the middle of the exposure, checking to see if his boss had caught him. I tried to explain that I wanted to take his picture, just because, but I walked away feeling like I'd asked for way too much. He could have lost his job or been seriously reprimanded had the wrong person noticed. People have been fired for less.