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, April 23, 2008

Women of Hope Project

"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition."
-
Timothy LearyUS psychologist & promoter of mind-altering drugs (1920 - 1996)

Today I got caught up with thank you and Christmas cards. I think I sent out 30 thank you cards and 50 Christmas cards. My tongue is really sore right now. Those cards were just to people that have written to me since I have been deployed. My wife will send out cards to our friends and family back home. I apologize in advance if anyone is Jewish or Muslim because I wished everyone a Merry Christmas. I would love to get Christmas cards but please do not send me any gifts. It would only make me feel guilty. I would love to receive stuff that I could donate to poor Afghan families or soldiers located on smaller FOBs. Read further if you would like to learn more.

Since today is Friday it is a “low tempo day.” I am really excited because I made a couple of really good contacts. The first one was a nice lady by the name of Betsy Beamon. She is the Director of Woman of Hope Project. She has a small booth near the main bazaar. The things she was selling really caught my eye because you could tell that they were hand made and of really good quality.

I starting talking with her and it turns out that she is a civilian who, after Sept 11 2001, decided that she wanted to come to Afghanistan to help out. She has been here for 5 years and has started an amazing organization. She has dedicated her time and efforts to help out poor girls and women throughout Afghanistan. She has about 50 women who each have about 7 women that work for them. They create crafts, cloths, dolls, and embroider material which she then sells for them. The organization takes a 10% profit, a large portion of that is put towards other goodwill efforts. She also goes to refuge camps and teaches them how to grow vegetables via a hydroponics method. Apparently, the soil in Afghanistan is really high in fecal material, I believe something like 75%, and this causes a lot of dysentery in children. She showed me pictures of how many different women have created these beautiful hydroponic gardens where they grow all kinds of vegetables. They also are developing a literacy program as well as a small business loan program where the women pay pack their loans as their business earn money.

I also met someone who is in charge of a military sponsored charity program. Every week or so they go out and donate all of their goods that they collect from people back home. Sort of what I have been doing but on a lot larger scale. Today they visited a refugee camp and dropped off a bunch of supplies that helped out about 50 families. I think next week they will be planting a bunch of apple trees. I would like to get involved. Here is their warehouse.


In addition to helping out local poor Afghans they also run a program where they send “down range” donations from home to soldiers located on smaller FOBs, with something like 100 to 200 people. I hope that you guy do not mind, but I will probably give any additional care packages that I receive to these programs so they can forward them on to smaller FOBs. If you like you can keep sending me stuff and I will gladly pass them along.

I have a great idea for holiday gifts. You can buy something from the Woman of Hope Project. Not only will you be giving a present that is unique and hand made, more importantly, you will be helping to support low income Afghan women and children. Here are some of the gifts that you can buy.
Hand made wall rugs.


I really like these. They are so colorful.

Purses.


Table cloths

Hats

Nice cloths for your kids. Very unique and one of a kind.

More cloths.


Handmade Christmas ornaments.
Dolls with Burqas.
A burqa for wine bottles. Now wouldn't that be a great gift.


More burqa dolls

Oven mits

Pillows and decorative embroidery.

Bookmarks

If you want to buy any of these things you can email Betsy Beamon at jaydasnan@aol.com or inquiry@womenofhopeproject.org and let her know what you want. The prices are pretty reasonable.

Here is their website in case you would like to learn more about their organization or donate money to their cause.

I have been into little mischief lately. Whenever we open our doors or windows in our office we smell all of the smokers downstairs from us. I decided to create my own nonsmoking zone. I posted the sign late at night and I think that it has worked.



Thanks for reading.

14 comments:

Sharon J said...

I just returned from Kabul and working with Betsy at the Women of Hope Project! What a delight to find this blog. Betsy is simply the most courageous, determined and kind spirited woman I have ever met. Having just retired from the Marine Corps, I have met a lot of women (and men) - NONE compare. She is definitely changing lives. I would like to add that she has at least 100 women now working for her and has to turn some away because of limited space and lack of volunteers. The Project is currently in the process of moving to a larger facility. Donations for her operations are so needed right now. I strongly urge and readers to donate using the womenofhopeproject web site. Please, at least, consider it. I must point out that as I write this, the web site is undergoing a revision and is down. Be patient and try again shortly! God Bless Betsy and many Blessings to her!!

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