Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

478th CIVIL AFFAIRS BATTALION SOLDIER MANAGES VENDORS WITH KINDNESS

Magazine article Army Reserve Magazine

478th CIVIL AFFAIRS BATTALION SOLDIER MANAGES VENDORS WITH KINDNESS

Article excerpt

Maj. Annette Dawson's job isn't easy. Today, she has to meet with the second wife of a bazaar vendor who was killed in a robbery to settle his estate. Throughout the difficult process, she displays a remarkable degree of kindness as she works to ensure an even division of property between both of the vendor's wives.

Dawson, a special projects officer with the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion and an educator from Hobbs, New Mexico, is charged with oversight for the popular bazaar located approximately two blocks away from the Presidential Palace in Baghdad.

"I maintain supervision of the market and ensure the vendors are operating within the guidelines and standards of the Coalition authority and Iraqi people," said Dawson. "Other than that, I just try to be honest and fair."

The market features a surprising array of useful and eclectic wares - everything from CDs and DVDs to watches, hand made rugs and handbags, soft drinks and ice cream, and gold jewelry. The place draws an ever-increasing crowd of locals, military, contract workers, and government employees, who gingerly navigate the narrow aisle sandwiched between twin rows of wooden stalls.

According to Dawson, there is no rental fee charged for stall space, which is provided on a first come-first served basis. More than 300 workers man the stalls, including six female Iraqis who serve as sub-managers for Dawson.

"They help me enforce standards, update changes and provide input into the bazaar," added Dawson. "For instance, this is the first week we've sold melons. And we're planning on bringing more fruits and vegetables based upon demand. …

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