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.


Today Show Clip

Chipin Widget

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Center of the World

"When the traveller from the south beholds Kabul, its ring of poplars, its mauve mountains where a fine layer of snow is smoking, and the kites that vibrate in the autumn sky above the bazaar, he flatters himself on that he has come to the end of the world. On the contrary, he has just reached its centre."- Nicolas Bouvier, L'Usage du Monde

Today was a down day so I did a lot of reading. I had to resort to living vicariously through the photos of LtCol Johnson who was invited to a lunch meeting that took place off base. He was able to drive to the top of a very tall mountain and take some beautiful pictures. The pictures allow you to see how large and beautiful Kabul really is. I included a little history of the different places that I researched off the web. Hope you enjoy.

Kabul City Walls, from Radio Afghanistan: "Around the emergence of Islam, the Kabul Shahan dynasty, a remnant of the small Kushanids, ruled ancient Kabul and its surrounding areas. King Ratbil Shah (or Zanbil Shah), a king of this line, was a very cruel tyrant. To stop attacks from abroad, the Shah decided to build a high wall around the city. He forced all the youth of the city to build the wall as soon as possible. So, the youngsters of the city were working very hard under the watchful eye of wardens supervising the construction of the wall. If anyone refused to work, he was buried alive in the walls. Thousands of youth fell victims to the tyranny of the evil king. The wall that still remains today on the Shirdarwaza and Aasmae mountains is a reminder of that dark era."

Habibia High School, from Google: "Afghanistan’s Who’s Who attended this important school in Kabul. Hamid Karzai, former King Zahir Shah and nearly 50% of the Afghan ministers graduated from this school, just to give an example. Though, the Taliban reduced Habibia to a bullet-ridden shell, it was reconstructed with international support and reopened with a modern and up-to-date look in 2005."

Here is a 3-D view.

Pul-e Khishti Mosque, from Kabul Caravan: "Standing in the centre of old Kabul, the Pul-e Khishti Mosque was originally erected in the late 18th Century, but largely rebuilt under Zahir Shah in the late 1960s. Its can be picked out by its large blue dome but is otherwise architecturally indistinct, a mix of international modern style punctuated with traditional Afghan tiling."
From Google: "Mosque in Kabul known under various names such as Masjid-e Pul-e Khishti or Pul-i-Khishti Masjid. Client for construction of this mosque of the Abdali period/style was Zaman Shah (1770 - 1844), the fifth son of Timur Shah."

Here is a 3-D view.

Shah do Shamshira Mosque, from Google: "The large two-storied mosque across the river from Timur Shah's mausoleum stands on the site of a mosque originally dedicated in 1544. The present building was commissioned by King Amanullah's mother and constructed in the 1920s. Its name, meaning the Mosque of the King of Two Swords, relates to an early legend concerning the arrival of Islam in Kabul. "
From Kabul Caravan: " Shah-Do-Shamshira Mosque Built in the 1920s on the site of a mosque dating back to the 16th Century, the Shah-Do-Shamshira Mosque is an architectural disaster. A two-storied structure in yellow, decorated with Italianate stucco, giving an effect that could be described as 'Afghan Baroque'. The name- the Mosque of the King of Two Swords- relates to the Arab conquest of Kabul, and the legendary death of a general fighting the Hindu defenders. Wielding two scimitars, the general led his troops to victory, despite having been beheaded in an earlier battle. The mosque sits on the north bank of the Kabul River facing the Mausoleum of Timur Shah."
That is pretty impressive that he was able to fight despite being beheaded in a previous battle!

Here is a 3-D model of the mosque.

Thanks for reading.