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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Power Point

We had a very interesting time today giving the power point presentation that was both in English and Dari to our Afghan physician counterparts. LtCol Johnson did a very good job with the help of our interpreter. Maybe I could enlighten you on some of the interesting challenges we face in opening up a medical clinic in Afghanistan. Men and women can not wait in the same waiting room so we have to create different waiting areas (I do not endorse the customs I just follow them). It is important to take into consideration the religious customs when creating a clinic, for instance, the urinals should not face towards mecca. It is also very important that the Afghans have a way to wash a body right after someone dies, I am not sure why. Never the less, we need to construct a body washing area in the new clinic. There needs to be a place to pray in the new clinic so a prayer room needs to be constructed. It is traditional to sacrifice a goat at the opening ceremony to bless the facility (we are still working out those details). Some other interesting Afghan customs is that it is common for a man to kiss another man on the cheek as a form of greeting and hold hands. It is also customary to enjoy a nice cup of chai and talk about each others family prior to discussing business.

We had a lot of cultural awareness training at Fort Riley, they called it "Leader Meets." We actually had actors that dressed and acted as if they did not know any English and it took place in a traditional Afghan surrounding. We were presented with challenging scenarios that we had to work through all with the help of an interpreter. Let me share just a few cultural taboos with you. You should never sit with your legs crossed where the bottom of your feet are showing, this is considered rude. You should never place your hat on the ground (I am not sure why) but it is common for Afghans to kiss their hat after it falls on the ground. You should not give the A-OK sign because it is considered offensive.

Everyone seemed to be pleased with our layout of the floor plan so we do not need to make any major changes. Our next step is to start training the staff of how to use the new equipment. We also will be giving lectures on mass casualty and emergency procedures, and infection control. I am looking forward to it.

I learned yesterday the origin of the word blog. I believe that it comes from the combination of the words web and log. I found that to be interesting.

Thanks for reading.

26 comments:

Hawksdomain said...

Hi, I'm a new reader to your blog and I just want to say thank you. Thank you for serving our country and thank you for sharing your experiences. The differences in culture are simply amazing. As I was reading this blog, I was sitting at my desk in a normal position, with my ankles crossed and the bottoms of my feet staring into the room behind me. It made me stop and think! So funny how natural things to us are offensive in other cultures.

Thank you again, and HUGS to you and everyone serving in Afghanistan.

Oh yes, and never tell the boss what you really think!! :)

businessjohn said...

Thanks for posting your blog.

I lived in Afghanistan for a couple of years. I run a website called Kabul Media and I'm presenting Afghanistan Cultural Awareness Training.

http:www.kabulmedia.com

NOTE: If you go to the Kabul Media site, click the "Training" link to learn more about the Afghanistan Cultural Awareness Training.

tucsonwfb said...

Doc:

My Son Patrick is at Camp Phoenix and just ordered boxing equipment so my guess his he is taking boxing lessions, give him a whack up the side of the head and tell him to keep in touch with his mother. He is from AZ and with a NY guard unit.

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