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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just Looking

Good evening. Last night I watched a band play in the DFAC (that is another name for the chow hall which is another name for the place where we eat). You just have to smile at how the military likes to rename everything. For instance, the Navy calls a bathroom the head and the army calls it a latrine. Anyways, the band that played was really good. I would upload a picture but my camera's battery just died on me. It always amazes me the number of activities Camp Phoenix has to offer- weight lifting competitions, salsa lessons, women's basket ball, dominoes tournaments, guitar lessons, etc. I do not think I have ever mentioned but they even have a mini college on the base. They offer $1,000 to anyone that is intereted in teaching a class. You can fight in a war during the day and attend college classes at night. Talk about multi-tasking.

Angela and LtCol Johnson went to the National Military Hospital (NMH) today. The NMH is a newly refurbished old soviet built hospital. They said that the hospital is a very modern facility with state of the art equipment (courtesy of Uncle Sam, of course). Apparently, they say that you are allowed to smoke in the rooms. LtCol Johnson relayed a funny story about a patient that was complaining about his care to them while he was talking on a phone and smoking a cigarette.

LtCol Peters and I just worked on our power points that we will be giving the doctors at the new clinic. Believe it or not, one of our talks is just on the importance of hand washing.

Tomorrow is our one day off. It is nice because we get to wear our PT (our exercise) uniforms all day long. Of course we still have to have our 9mm and ammo on us at all times. It is funny how you can get used to always carrying a weapon around. There should also be a Bizarre tomorrow (in case you do not remember, that is where the locals sell a bunch of local souvenirs). I will be sure to take some pictures and upload them onto my site. They sell just about any recent movie for $1-2 dollars. The only problem is the movie is a CD of some guy sitting in a movie theater with his video camera filming the movie. You sometimes see the heads of people in the front of the theater. The box and the cover look very official but when you play the movie it just is unwatchable. They also sell just about any kind of watch and sun glasses you kind find. Of course there are plenty of Afghan rugs. The rugs can run pretty expensive.

As you walk down the isle of shops on either side of you have fairly aggressive vendors all vying to get you to buy their stuff. They all say, "Come here...just looking.....just looking." They think that they are outsmarting you by doing a preemptive strike on what you are about to say because you sound pretty silly when you respond "just looking" to their "just looking." Children with a bunch of bracelets, postcards, and stacks of Afghani currency come up to you. I bought some money and I have been sending it to some people that have sent me letters. Let me know if you want me to send you something from over here.

One of my "Angles" sent me a really good CD that I am listening to right now. It is not one that I would normally buy because it is country/blues but I am really liking it. The artist is Grey De Lisle and the album is titled Iron Flowers. Here is a link to her web site:

http://www.greydelisle.com/albumFlowers.html

OK, before I sign off I have to describe my room's pet peeves. Now, don't mistaken this for complaining because, like I have said before, I probably have just about as nice of accommodations as you can have in Afghanistan. There are some people who have to sleep under a tent under the stars in their sleeping bags. I only mention them because they have become so annoying that they have become comical. My mattress is just a little larger then a normal twin mattress so my fitted sheet is always half way down my mattress when I wake up. The walls of my room are deceivingly thin. I am not kidding when I say that I live in a shed- it is exactly like a backyard shed. I literally hear every detail of the person next to me from the velcro of his uniform to the creeks in his bed. Talk about bed creaking, if you just think about moving the bed frame sends out a long and loud creek that continues after you stopped moving. The AC/heater only works through the use of a remote controller that chirps really loud. The battery on the remote is low so it will chirp loud when you press the button but not change the temperature. Throughout the night I am constantly pressing the temperature change button trying to change the temperature without any success. So every night my neighbors get to enjoy their own personal remote control chirp and bed squeak symphony.

Thanks for reading.

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