Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lunch at the Freedom Cafe

There is a market/cafe just down the street from the new Embassy compound (NEC) called "Freedom." A few of us walked there for lunch. I had been there a couple times before, hoping to buy some items, like butter, that we can't get at the PX. There weren't many people there; others have told me that the customers were usually American Embassy officers desperate for a non-NEC meal.

This time was different. The lunchtime crowd was mostly Iraqis and nearly all the tables were full. We walked to a table in the back, getting the stares that a black man, two white guys, and two red-headed women could expect from a cafe full of working class Iraqi men (I did spot a woman at one table later on). We had a wonderful meal of lamb and several side dishes of potatoes, beans, and eggplant.

The market/cafe is owned by Christian Iraqis. I know this because 1) the first time I visited, my colleagues introduced the owner; and 2) on the back wall is a large picture of Jesus and his disciples at the last supper, the framed print accessorized with a shiny tinsel boa. While Christians may suffer harassment in other parts of Iraq, at least here they seem to be doing good business.

2 comments:

Warpiper said...

I used to eat at that cafe almost every night with a colleague when I was on the police training mission over there back in 2004-2005. It was off limits to military and Embassy personnel back then, but we were State contractors and not as under the thumb as most folks. I'm glad to hear that he is still in business.

Mom said...

OK then. Taking a deep breath. (Pause) Sounds like a lovely experience, dear.