AK: Sauna whisks package destined for Iraq-based Defense League troops

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Sauna whisks being prepared for dispatch to Iraq. Source: ERR

Estonian defense personnel based in Iraq are to receive a consignment of sauna-related paraphernalia, including sauna 'whisks', thanks to some work on the part of their colleagues at home, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Tuesday evening.

Volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) member Jaano Mägi told AK that: "I was called to find out if I could help. With a little communication here between various organizations, the goods will finally be on their way today."

The Defense League augments the regular Estonian Defense Forces (EDF), but is not confined to domestic duties; a force protection unit dubbed ESTGUARD-4 was deployed to Iraq last month as part of Estonia's contribution to NATO's Mission Iraq (NMI).

The league's Põlva regiment has sent the sauna "whisks" – bundles of leaves, usually birch, used to lightly beat the skin after being dipped in water – vacuum packed for extra freshness, as well as other items such as honey and non-alcoholic drinks, AK reported.

Estonian personnel serving in Iraq are to start constructing a sauna there for down-time.

EDF member Kaido Arulepp, appearing via video link, that the sauna was "Not ready yet. I haven't had a sauna in a month, but the materials are there, the stove rocks we took with us, so we can build it ourselves. We have the materials, screws and everything there."

This is not the first time serving Estonian soldiers have constructed a little corner of home in far-off lands. EDF personnel based in the West African nation of Mali, where they take part in the French-led Operation Barkhane counter-terrorism mission, built their own sauna back in early 2020.

The sauna whisks' package is due to arrive in Iraq in a month, AK reported, timing which Janno Mägi noted would nicely coincide with next month's restoration of independence day (August 20).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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