Girl Talk: Bridging the cultural gap with Iraq's teens
December 15, 2010
- Female Soldiers of 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment hold seminar with Iraqi teenage girls
- Topics discussed included similarities of school subjects, home life and male and female relationships
- "Only by interaction will we be able to learn how to live together and appreciate one another," said one Soldier
As the sun rose over the city of Saniyah, the Diwaniyah Provincial Reconstruction Team, supported by 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, set out on the first of several planned youth outreach programs in the area.
The setting of this mission was not to be the site of a newly reconstructed facility or a meeting of provincial leaders but rather a classroom full of Iraqi teenage girls.
Without any personnel who could specifically relate to the challenges faced by teenagers, the PRT requested support from 3rd Squadron in the form of two young female medics from Troop H.
Pfc. Rolanda Geneus, of Orlando, Florida, and Pfc. Donya Glover, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, stood before the gazes of the young girls of Saniyah High School and Al Sediqa Middle School, leading discussions of what it is like growing up as a teenager in the 21st century. As the two Soldiers shared their experiences, the discussions became lively.
"The main topics were the similarities of school subjects, home life and male and female relationships," said Geneus.
"Many of the girls had questions about our culture and asked how our cultures live together in America," said Glover. "It was interesting to know that for as long as we have been here, they still had many questions about our culture and Soldiers."
This joint venture offered a great opportunity not only to the girls of Saniyah, but also to the medics chosen to participate.
"I thought being chosen for the mission was exciting and different from what my usual mission is," said Glover.
Missions like these provide expanded opportunities to the Soldiers of 3rd Squadron, and similar outreach programs are planned for the future.
At the end of the day no criminals were arrested, no intelligence gathered, yet the result of the day's mission seemed a resounding success.
"There are many similarities and differences in our cultures but only by interaction will we be able to learn how to live together and appreciate one another," said Geneus.