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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
My day in Iraq: Civil engineer
On Friday, 7 April, the BBC News website is asking people across Iraq how they live their lives.

Here, "Lulu", a civil engineer in Baghdad, describes the difficulties she faces in travelling around the city.


Every morning I have to cross the main Jumhuriya bridge from east to west of Baghdad because it is closed to traffic.

Hole in bridge
"This hole is big enough for someone to fall into the Tigris river," says Lulu

I am not afraid, but people ask me how I dare to cross the bridge because of my position and because it is so dangerous.

It is not a problem, I say, because I am trying to make things safer for people.

I have a PhD in soil engineering and work for the Ministry of Housing in Baghdad.

I am working in the design branch, but despite all the promises from the US we have no funds for projects.

I also work in Baghdad university as a part-time lecturer but with no pay, so that I can help those with low incomes.

I live in a part of the city which is mainly Shia. Before, under Saddam, the differences between Sunni and Shia were silent.

Now we wake up and another person has been killed.

The insurgents say the people they kill "work with the Americans" but I think they kill because of the differences in ideology.

Living with fear

The children are always afraid of loud noises. My sister has a little child and whenever he sees any soldier he is afraid.

One day he went with his mother to the market in new Baghdad and there was a terrible bomb.

They are fine, but now the child is afraid and refuses to go to any market.

Yes, I know there are many bombs but what can you do? You have to work, you have to get paid

I work five days a week - once a week at the university. On my teaching day I have to go in a car, which creates problems because they are always putting concrete roadblocks across the road.

So a trip which takes 30 minutes can take 2 hours.

Yes, I know there are many bombs but what can you do? You have to work, you have to get paid.

Even the cleaners of the roads can be attacked, now why kill them? He doesn't work with the Americans - they don't give you a chance to explain.

Uncertain future

I have a large family - many brothers and sisters - and we live in a large house which is very loud with the children.

My father had built a large house for us before in another part of Baghdad but we had to leave the area as it was close to Baghdad airport which is incredibly dangerous nowadays.

MORE DAILY LIVES
I don't go out. It is too dangerous and we can only go to our friends' and families' houses.

Even if your child is sick you must wait until first light to take them to hospital.

We used to love having big wedding ceremonies at clubs or hotels and stay out late but now it's too dangerous.

Electricity is very bad.

Last month the person who ran the private generator had his daughter killed by insurgents so he refuses to operate it any more.

So you go to bed early and get up early.

It is good to sit and talk as a family, before I liked sewing but now there is not time because I am so tired from work and the light is bad.

At the weekend I will stay in my house.

I would like to get out and see my friends or perhaps take a trip to the market. But I will have to make a list of what I need and go quickly around the stalls, because you never know what might happen.





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