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

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Soldiers' Angels

“I am not young enough to know everything.”
-Oscar Wilde Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 - 1900)

Today I received another care package from my favorite group of students over in Gaffney, South Carolina. They sent a bunch of great letters along with toiletries and even a Frogger PC game. I think I have enough toiletries to last me a whole year. I also received more packages from Zonta Club of Marathon- a lot of school supplies and candies for children. I tell you what, the Zonta Club of Marathon has really done a tremendous job sending me a lot of high quality school supplies, candies, and stuffed animals. Today I gave out one of their boxes. As I previously mentioned, from now on I will only hand out gifts to people on an individual basis. I am going to avoid the crowds and the chaos that it brings. It is so difficult because there is such a huge need but I guess we can only do so much.

Someone also sent me a PC game of Mahoung. I have never played it but I am looking forward to learning. I am getting behind on my thank you letters. Maybe I will work on them tonight.

It looks like we will be moving soon. Of course, I will not go into any of the when and where details yet for security reasons. I am feeling a little sad tonight because there is a lot that I will miss about this place. It has become my home. I have gotten to know a lot of people and I have developed somewhat of a routine. I will be able to forward any mail that is being sent to the Phoenix address so it will not be a problem if something is in the mail. I will give you all an updated mailing address when I get there. There is internet connectivity so I should still be able to continue my blog when I get there.

Someone from the Wolf Pack made this amazing 15 minute movie of the CMA that we did last week. It is a combination of short videos and photos set to music. I believed he used Microsoft Movie Maker to make it. It is really well done. I am trying to upload it to my blog but I think that it will be too big and will take too long to view. It is currently at 14%. I am going to let it upload all night. I would be more then happy to burn it to a CD and send it to any 6 M.I.K. readers for free if you would like to view a copy. Consider it my gift just for reading my blog : ). I will also be sending copies to people that have donated stuff for the CMA. Get your Kleenex ready because it is a real tear-jerker!

The next Afghan Community Service contestant that I wanted to feature on the ACSI blog is Soldiers' Angels. It is really hard for me to list all of the wonderful things that they have done for me and my team. I have received numerous care packages and letters expressing support and appreciation from people back home because of them. The amount of things that they have sent us is just too much to list. From the shampoo that I use to wash my hair in the morning to the underwear I am wearing. Sorry, was that too much information. Just last week I got an email from them asking if I wanted to participate in their new EPal program. I now regularly communicate with email supporters back in the states.

I copied this summary directly from their website.

“Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Patti Patton-Bader, mother of Sgt. Brandon Varn, who recently returned home from a years deployment to Iraq. Soldiers' Angels is a national organization with members in all fifty states and Puerto Rico, and several friendly countries who support our brave men and women in uniform as they carry out their mission. Soldiers' Angels was incorporated in the state of Nevada in June of 2003. Soldiers' Angels mission is to provide aide and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard and their amazing families. The slogan describes the motivation behind Soldiers' Angels. By working together and sharing a common vision of service, the volunteers of Soldiers' Angels send care to deployed soldiers and their loved ones at home.

To date our volunteers have sent tens of thousands of care packages and hundreds of thousands of letters to our deployed heroes; we have helped those who have been wounded with our First Response Packs directly at the Combat and Support Hospitals (CASH) and at the major hospital in Germany, as well as providing care and comfort to those who are now in our military hospitals here at home; we have provided aid to military families in need; we have provided flights to soldiers on leave or in emergency situations and to their families to be with their loved ones upon return from Iraq and Afghanistan; we have provided level III KEVLAR Armor blankets to provide our heroes with some protection in their vehicles when it was needed; we help to honor the families whose loved ones have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and safety. This and much, much more has been accomplished by the many volunteers of this organization with the assistance of our generous supporters on behalf of the grateful citizens of the United States of America.”From its very inception, the focus of Soldiers' Angels has been: “Helping to bring home healthy soldiers.”

Here is their website:

http://soldiersangels.org/



Thanks for reading.

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