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

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Macarena

Today I am very excited because I had a great idea. I was thinking about the large number of hits that my blog has been getting over the past few days (over 100 to date!!!) and I thought that it would be a great idea to start a children's clothing drive (emphasis on warm weather cloths since it will be getting very cold over here very soon). We could even expand it to include toiletries and toys. I have been told that families over here share a single tooth brush per household. I do not know about you, but if I had to share a tooth brush with my brothers growing up I might not have ever brushed my teeth.

There are a number of opportunities for me to distribute the contributions that I receive, although I have not yet worked out any of the details. As I previously mentioned, I will be participating in CMAs (Community Medical Assistance) projects. We also will have our clinic which has a peds department. There is also something called Operation Not Forgotten which is a collection drive for children done by Camp Phoenix. I believe they go out to rural towns to distribute their donations. Believe it or not, there is also the Pul-e-Charkhi prison that is just down the street. I learned from an article that I read that children have to stay with their mothers when they get imprisoned because they have no where else to go. It is really sad. I encourage you to read the article online. I posted some pics from the article.


The article is titled: AFGHANISTAN: Children share deprivations of imprisoned mothers. Cut and past this title into google. It should be the first or second result to pop up. For some reason I tried to include the link and it would not work. It is from irinnews.org

I do have to mention that the success of my site also brings with it somewhat of a bittersweet feeling. I am concerned that the more people that visit my site then more people that will send us care packages which is not my intention. As I mentioned in my 1st posting, I earn decent income and we are very well taken care of over here at Camp Phoenix. There are some soldiers in Afghanistan that are on a 15 month "camping trip." They eat MREs (meals ready to eat) for every meal, they basically live in small Afghan villages, literally "embedded" with their Afghan counterparts, without any access to internet or phones. I included a number of soldier support links where you can send care packages at the bottom of my blog. Here is my recommendation, find out which ones live on a small FOB (a FOB is a Forward Operating Base). Those are usually the ones with the fewest amenities. Also, bases in Afghanistan that are in the southern region are usually a more hazardous place to live. They get more rocket and motor attacks then in the northern regions. This is a generalization of course. We have our own share of dangers in Kabul such suicide bombers and VBIEDs (vehicle borne IEDs) .

For those of you that still want to send us stuff we would love to receive it. I just wanted to set the record straight so I could have a clear conscious.

Last night I did my boxing class. I dragged my friend along- we call him "Puffy." We call him that because his last name is Combs. Parents, ask your kids for further explanation. I did not warn him how rigorous the class was going to be. I got a good laugh watching him struggle to do some of the ab exercises. The best was watching him bob and weave. He made the instructor crack up. The instructor said that it looked like he was doing the Macarena.

We should be getting actual boxing equipment in soon, like punching bags and gloves. I still need to order tape and a mouth guard online. I am not sure how far I will go with this. I may need to stop once the sparing starts. I do not want to get hurt. After boxing they had salsa dancing. I usually go just to watch them dance. Tonight they have Karaoke over at the Coffee Bean (yes, we have a coffee shop on our FOB, you see what I mean about all of our amenities). I am trying to get my team to participate. Maybe in the future I can learn how to post short video clips. It should give everyone a good laugh watching us try to sing.

Today we worked on the clinic layout. We have a copy of the floor plan on the computer and we were mixing and matching who should go into which room. I have been calling the new clinic a clinic but that really is not accurate, it is more like a small hospital. It has just about every subspeciality, including neurosurgery. One of the first things we will need to do before the clinic opens is give the doctors training on all of the new equipment. Most of the equipment is state of the art, and therefore, very foreign to them. I have started to contact some U.S. doctors in the area in an attempt to get them to provide some teaching for things like the optometry equipment. So far everyone has been really nice and has enthusiastically agreed to help out.

I am posting our address in case you would like to participate in my drive. Don't forget, you can send children's cloths, toys, toiletries, and anything else you think would be helpful. Used clothing is encouraged. Don't go spending a lot of money. Just send me the old stuff that you already have and want to get rid of. You know all of that stuff that it is just collecting dust in your garage or attic.

Thanks again for visiting. Now don't just log off- post a comment!! I would love to hear what you think. : )

16 comments:

stefferoni said...

thank you for creating this blog. it's good (for lack of a better word) to get an inside look at the progress...albeit a slow one, (although, i'm not, in any way at all, blaming you guys..it's hard when you're swimming against the tide, i'm sure!)..you guys are doing. thank you for posting the address of the drive you are starting, it would be very helpful for schools, churches, etc here to have..a direct contact. take care!

Bardea said...

MAJ Hernandez,
Found the blog via AnySoldier. Keep up the good writing and hopefully you will continue to see packages roll in. The blog is great, thanks for the pics. It's cool that you're noting the details, I hope you are able to keep that up as the clinic progresses. You and your team are doing great things for people that need it and I just wanted to let you know that the collective 'we' support you from back home. I'll be dropping a Montana postcard in the mail for your team member soon. Stay alert and stay safe.

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