Problog

Hello and welcome to my blog. It is a blog about an Air Force Physician that was reluctantly deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan for 6 months.

I have to admit, I did not exactly volunteer for the deployment, and I was a little anxious about how it would all turn out. I ended up making the best of it, and surprisingly, I actually had a pleasant, life changing, experience.

I decided to keep the blog up and running because I kept on hearing, "Why is it that you only hear the bad news coming from Iraq and Afghanistan." I figured that I was helping spread a positive message about what we are doing over. Even more important, I wanted to continue to spread the word about the plight of the Afghan people, 99.9% of which are the most incredibly friendly people that you will ever meet. The title picture is a great example of that. I have never encountered such genuinely warm and friendly people. It was so strange to see so many people with so little material objects, yet at the same time, filled with so much of the joy that comes with close family ties, abundant friends, and a close knit community. We could definetly learn a lot from them.

You may notice, as you read the blog in its entirety, my arc. I shift from focusing on myself and my personal comforts, to shifting my focus on the Afghan cause. It is very easy to get distracted by the hustle of daily life and the comforts that the U.S. provides. It is really a challenge to awake from that coma and to start to care and think about the welfare of other people unrelated to you. I think it really took me about 4 or 5 months before I really opened my eyes and became personally affected by what I was experiencing. I hope I was able to recreate it.

I have tried to keep the blog squeaky clean so as to not offend anyone (or get me in trouble-I am still in the military). Even though I am a political junky with very strong personal opinions I have been steadfast in keeping this site free of any politics. I was called to do a job and I tried to do it to the best of my ability regardless of my political stance.

I recreated the blog to read more like a book, or should I say blook (get used to the corniness it only gets worse from here) just to make it an easier read. I have removed some names and pictures just to keep it more anonymous. I hope that it helps in making it less about me and more about the cause.

Lastly, in the spirit of the blog, I decided to include the Chipin Widget that I used to raise money for Nazia. If I get any additional money I will send the funds to The Women of Hope Project and someone over in Kabul will discretely give it to her (unless I hear otherwise). You can also contribute directly to the Women of Hope Project website. They are a wonderful cause. If you enjoy this blog then feel free to contribute. I am sure that once you read her story you will be very moved.

So kick back. Get ready to hopefully laugh and definitely cry.
If you like what you read then post a comment. I will be continuously editing this site in an attempt to improve it. Who knows maybe one day it will become a book!

Enjoy. Thanks for reading.

-Shazdoc

Today Show Clip

Chipin Widget

Monday, June 2, 2008

Eid

Today was a pretty uneventful day. This morning I ate my typical breakfast of grits with a ton of kiwis. I do not know where I came up with this strange breakfast combination but I seem to have it every morning for the past month.

I spent a good part of the day working on a mass casualty plan for the new clinic. For those of you that do not know, a mass casualty is when a medical facility receives a large number of casualties that exceeds their normal ability to care for them. Patients are brought to a hospital or clinic and they are categorized based on their injury either Immediate, Delayed, Minimal or Expectant. Obviously, the Immediate patients require the most urgent care and so forth down the line. The idea is to focus your care on the people who need it most and are most likely to survive. I am curious how receptive my Afghan counterparts will be to my plan and whether or not it will be implemented. It will also be interesting lecturing with the use of a Dari interpreter. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

The highlight of my day was beating my office rivals in pool. We have a ongoing daily pool match where the winner gets to wear a 1st place medal. So far me and my partner have claimed the prize 2 days in a row. Tonight is poker night. I play twice a week. Last week I finished #1 out of 66. I won a casino PC game. It was pretty exciting. I doubt that I will be able to continue my winning streak. I am just hoping to place in the top 25 tonight. Poker is probably one of the activities that I enjoy the most at Camp Phoenix.

We are still awaiting the end of Ramadan, also called Eid ul-Fitr or just Eid. It typically ends with the next full moon. In case you did not already know, Ramadan is a Muslim holiday where the entire month is spent fasting. I copied a short summery of Eid from Wikapedia in case you are interested in learning more info.

Eid is an Arabic term meaning "festivity" or "celebration" while Fitr means "to break the fast" and can also mean "nature" from the word "fitrat" and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. On the day of the celebration, a typical Muslim family is awake very early and then after praying the first normal everyday prayer, is required to eat in a small quantity, symbolizing the end of Ramadan. They then attend special congregational prayers held only for this occasion in mosquess, in large open areas, stadiums or arenas. The prayer is generally short, and is followed by a sermon. Worshippers greet and embrace each other in a spirit of peace and love after the congregational prayer. After the special prayers, festivities and merriment are commonly observed with visits to the homes of relatives and friends to thank God for all blessings.

For Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr is a joyous occasion with important religious significance, celebrating of the achievement of enhanced piety. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory, peace of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims celebrate not only the end of fasting, but also thank God for the help and strength that they believe he gave them throughout the previous month to help them practice self-control. It is a time of giving and sharing, and many Muslims dress in holiday attire.

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mona said...

Dr. Hernandez,
You definitely made my students' day today. L.W.'s day for sure! They were impressed that you used the shazdoc! I was, too. You are the shaz, for sure.
I passed around your email to "your classmates" and they took down your blog address. I know they will check it out. You will be hearing from them by blogging.
Your blog was not at all boring. I thought it was very informative. Thank you for creating it.
The students wrote you more letters today. I will mail them tomorrow.
Take care and stay safe.
EMS teacher

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