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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Zonta

"I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean."
-G. K. ChestertonEnglish author & mystery novelist (1874 - 1936)

Tonight I thought that I would highlight an organization that has sent me so many toys and supplies, the Zonta Club of Marathon Florida. I did a little research and I learned a little bit about them. I copied this from Wikipedia.

"Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. The first Zonta Club was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1919. Currently, Zonta International is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The organization has over 30,000 members in 67 countries.
Zonta is well-known for its Amelia Earhart fellowship program, founded in 1938 in honor of Amelia Earhart, who was a member of Zonta Clubs in Boston and New York. The fellowship provides funds for women to study aerospace science or engineering at the post-graduate level. The organization also awards the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business scholarships to students entering the third or fourth year of a business-related undergraduate degree program, and the Young Women in Public Affairs Awards, which recognize pre-college women aged 16 to 20 and encourages their public service."

I have to mention something a little funny and I hope that they do not get offended. I have to post a picture of one of the stuffed animals that was sent by them.
Let's just say that this little guy will be coming home with me. There will be no international incidents started on my watch. My daughter will be very happy to get this new stuffed animal.

We will be doing a Humanitarian Assistance mission for a local school later this week and it will be a great opportunity for me to deliver a lot of the school supplies that I have received. Someone from Waynesboro Virginia sent me $50.00 worth of school supplies.

Tonight I received pictures of my children in their Halloween costumes. They looked adorable. As I mentioned previously, my daughter was dressed up like a a cat. My son and my wife had a shared costume which was themed after one of the episodes of The Office. I will spare you the details.

Lastly, I wanted to reiterate the purpose and goal of my blog. I have been getting a lot of mixed feedback lately. I think because it is starting to grow a little too big. Originally, it was intended to document my experience during this deployment and it was meant mainly for my family and friends at home to read. It has since evolved from being mainly about me to more about the good that is happening in Afghanistan and also about our supporters back in the U.S.. I want to be able to highlight all of the positive things that are taking place over here. My pool playing and the kiwis that I ate for breakfast just did not seem as intersting and as important as compared to the things that the military is doing over here and what the people back in the states are doing for us over here.
Before this deployment I had no idea that there were so many wonderful and caring people that have done so much for our troops. A group of ladies knitted over 500 hats, socks, and scarfs for the Afghan orphans. When I saw that huge box full of hand made winter cloths, I just shook my head with disbelief and amazement. The amount of work that must have gone into producing all of that cloths was just amazing. Similarly, there is a Soldier's Angle that I have been in contact with for a couple of weeks through email that started asking schools in her state to write letters to deployed soldiers. Through her effort she has received something like 50,000 letters. Just today she wrote me to tell me that there was another big box full of letters on her door step.
Similarly, there are thousands upon thousands of servicemen and women that are over here making a huge sacrifice by being away from their families and loved ones for upwards of 15 months, risking their lives on a daily basis, sometimes just to deliver toys and blankets to children in orphanages. This is important stuff and I want both of their stories to be heard.
I will not hesitate to edit and/or remove anything from my site that does not does not fit this mission. I want people back home and the soldiers deployed overseas to be proud of my site. No one should be allowed to complain that the media focuses only negative news from Iraq and Afghanistan if they themselves have not made an effort to be part of the solution. If I ever stop being part of the solution then you have my guarantee that this site will be discontinued. So please continue to give me feedback.
So thanks for putting up with my amateur writing and my corny jokes. Hopefully I can continue this blog and we can continue to spread the positive message. Thanks for reading.
Right after I wrote that last sentence taps came on on the loud speaker as it does ever night at 22:00 (10:00pm). It is obviously a very sad melody because it is played at every military funeral. Although, for me it is very soothing and comforting whenever I hear it every night before I go to bed.
I posted a link to a site with a .wav recording. Take a listen.

16 comments:

Susan said...

I think your blog is great from kiwis for breakfast to letters from school children and everything in between. Your blog is the kind everyone needs to read. And I do mean everyone and I do mean need. Some of us know your good because of our "contacts" but most aren't as fortunate to have an extended family that spans the globe like we do. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I think that your blog is WONDERFUL!! It gives us an insight as to what we are REALLY doing over there and what good we are doing. I agree with Susan's comment about people needing to read your blog and really GETTING IT.
Please keep up the GREAT work that you are doing..God Bless

C. Valentine said...

I can't imagine what anyone would have to complain about. Your daily accounts of life in Afghanistan are both humorous and,at times, heartbreaking - isn't that how life is? Keep up the good work. And thank you for taking time out of your busy day to give us a glimpse of your life - which in turn gives me a glimpse into my soldier's life. Stay safe.

Kristen - SA VA Team Leader/Community Team Leader said...

I love your blog for what you are posting too. I love the positive stories and they make me very proud of all the work you and all of our soldiers are doing. :)

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