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He Burned Himself and the Tool Slipped

5 Jan 2012

It is Saturday morning. The two boys knock at the welded joints to remove the iron grating from the window frames. When the grating is off they unroll a section of the mosquito mesh and stretch it across the window frame. Then they weld the old grating to the window frame with the mosquito mesh spread in between.

 

I am back from R&R yesterday and not ready to be back and I could sleep longer if they let me. I come out to check on their progress. There are large holes burned into the mosquito mesh at the welded joints. I call the Logistics Officer over.

 

‘What the fuck is this?’

 

I point to the places. The Logistics Officer sees and he speaks to the welders in Arabic. The welders respond and he translates for me. ‘He - the one with the welding iron - says in those places he burned himself and the tool slipped.’

 

‘Maybe he should wear gloves. Anyway, I don’t give a shit that he burned himself. We’re paying him to install the mosquito mesh so that it will keep out the mosquitos. If he burns holes through it, it won’t fucking well keep out the mosquitos, will it?’

 

The Logistics Officer speaks to the welder again in Arabic. There is a response and then to me: ‘He says he understands.’

 

‘Marvelous,’ I say. ‘Tell him to demonstrate his understanding by doing the next window properly or he will be sacked.’

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