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, May 12, 2008

VFW

"We find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve. "
-
Maxwell Maltz, Communication Bulletin for Managers & Supervisors, June 2004

The highlight of my day was getting to eat local Afghan food. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will not get sick. I ate a kabob sandwich. It came wrapped in newspaper. The meat was spicy and delicious. The best part was the bread, otherwise known as naan. Naan is a very important part of Afghan meals. You see people carrying it in the streets and it being sold in shops throughout Kabul. It is absolutely delicious.

In today's post I thought that I would discuss what my community service project is in an attempt to encourage more people to submit theirs. A few days ago I thought to myself what a waste it was that we throw away so many plastic bottles and aluminum cans at Camp Phoenix. Most people over here drink about 5 bottles of water a day. I drink about 3 cans of soda. It all really adds up. Not to mention pollution is a really big problem in Kabul. I heard someone say, you can almost taste the air. As I have previously stated, instead of complaining about problems it is more productive to be part of the solution. So yesterday I was searching the internet trying and find a place that recycles aluminum cans and plastic bottles in Kabul. I had this idea that we could recycle the cans and plastic bottles then we could donate the profits to a local charity. While I was searching the web I came across this article.

http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/sep2007/a092607ls1.html

Bagram Airfield is another FOB in Afghanistan. Coincidentally, they recently instituted a recycling program. According to the article they were burning 35,000 plastic water bottles and 2,000 cans a day! This program not only recycles the bottles and cans which helps in reducing air pollution but, additionally, it also creates local jobs that help the economy. As an added bonus the government saves money because of the reduced trash load that the civilian contractor has to process. It is a win-win-win situation.

I contacted the person in charge of the program late last night. We must have sent 5 emails back and forth to each other in a 5 minute period. It turns out that the contractor that picks up the recyclables at Bagram is based out of Kabul. After I got back from our clinic visit today I visited a number of different offices proposing the idea. Everyone I spoke to was very positive. We will see how it goes. I do not want to be overly optimistic but I think that it may have a chance of being implemented. We will have to see. I will keep you posted.

This is an example of how you do not necessarily have to have a completed project to be considered for the Afghanistan Community Service Idol. You just have to have an idea that you are developing. Another important point that I have to mention is that my idea probably would have never have gotten off the ground if it was not for the Defend America news article. Just as important as doing the task is also advertising that you are doing it to raise awareness for your cause.

I am going to add a column to the right hand side of my blog that will be a link to all of the various articles on what 6 M.I.K. readers are doing. There may not be any right now but I am pretty confident that by the end of the month there will be a couple.

Also, just for fun, I will test out the voting box on the ACSI blog. Go ahead and give it try a try. I cast my vote already.

The next contestant to ACSI is a Veteran of Foreign Wars program called Operation Uplink. Operation Uplink is an innovative program launched in 1996 that provides free pre-paid phone cards to active duty military personnel and hospitalized veterans. Through the generous support of VFW and the Ladies Auxiliary VFW Posts and members, and caring citizens, VFW Operation Uplink has been able to distribute millions of prepaid phone cards. My entire team has been fortunate recipients of their 90 minute phone cards cards. One of the most important parts of my day is when I phone my family in the morning. It is the fuel that drives my engine during the day. You can not put a price on the gift that Operation Uplink provides. They are doing a great service on a very large scale. Here is a link to their website.



There is a VFW post very close to my home. I will have to visit them when I get back home and say thank you in person. I also hear that they serve cheap beer which will be an added bonus.
Thanks for reading.

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