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

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bas Mar Jan

"No man is an Island, intire of itselfe; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the maine..."

John Donne, Devotions XVIIEnglish clergyman & poet (1572 - 1631)
I recently learned about a great program out of Camp Phoenix called Operation Outreach. They are doing some wonderful stuff. I will post their last newsletter. I think that this is my favorite post yet. It figures that I did not even write it. It is written by Capt Wellik. Hope you enjoy. Break out the tissues you are going to need them.

Meet Bas Mar Jan. She is a 5-year-old little girl who we saw in our TMC (troop medical clinic) at Camp Phoenix in April 2007. She suffered from Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a life threatening heart condition where she had several things wrong with her heart. Her heart essentially pumped blood that was very low in oxygen. Her oxygen saturation was 73% the day that we saw her. Healthy is around 99%. As you can see, her lips were blue. Her fingers and toes were dusky blue in color and were clubbed which showed the long standing oxygen deprived status her little body had been operating under.

Her father is a very caring individual and said that he carried her almost all the time because she had such difficulty breathing. The chest x-ray showed that the majority of her chest cavity was taken up with her enlarged heart. Operation Outreach worked diligently to make arrangements for her to have heart surgery in India in order to save her life. In true Operation Outreach fashion, she didn’t leave the clinic until she had new socks, shoes, jacket, and stuffed animals.

Through the very generous donations of Friends of Operation Outreach, stateside churches, assistance from, Pogs for Kids, and EVERYONE at Camp Phoenix, we were able to quickly fund and proceed with making arrangements for Bas Mar Jan to have her life saving heart surgery.

On 13 May 2007, Bas Mar Jan and her father came to the Camp Phoenix TMC for one last check up before flying to India. She was cleared for surgery and Operation Outreach made sure that she had plenty of toys and crayons to keep her busy during her stay. Her surgery went very well. She did have some minor complications, so her stay was extended to ensure that she was doing well before she was discharged.

Bas Mar Jan was released from the hospital on 20 June 2007. 163 LTF was fortunate to be able to pick her and her dad up from the airport. They returned to Camp Phoenix for a quick checkup before returning to her home in Jalalabad to be reunited with her brothers and sisters.

Her father said that she hadn’t been eating well while she was in India because she didn’t like the food. While at Camp Phoenix, Bas Mar Jan’s face lit up with a huge smile when she was given Afghan food for the first time in a month.

Care after surgery is a very important step to ensure that she has the best chance at a long and healthy life. High quality medical care is hard to find in Afghanistan. Operation Outreach made sure that Bas Mar Jan was going to have the best care possible before even starting surgery. Volunteers networked to make arrangements with pediatric heart specialists at the private French Children’s Hospital located in downtown Kabul.

On 24 June 2007, Bas Mar Jan was ableto meet Security Forces (SecFor) as she was taken to the French Children’s Hospital for her first post-operative visit. She was quite the celebrity and now has a very special (forces) fan club! She had an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist and an ultrasound performed on her heart which came to a total of170 Afghanis which equals $3.50 US dollars!

Operation Outreach funded her surgery, five week hospital stay, post-op care, as well as the plane tickets, hotel, and food for Bas Mar Jan, her father, and an interpreter. These expenses only totaled $7,000 US dollars! However, money can’t buy the unbelievably healthy smile that Bas Mar Jan now shows off so easily for the camera.

Her father was constantly thanking everyone for giving him a healthy daughter. As he would place his hand across his heart in thanks, he kept saying“I get to keep my daughter. She’s perfect…she’s just perfect.”

A special thanks to the commanders of Camp Phoenix for supporting these missions which are truly“winning the hearts and minds” of the future of Afghanistan.
We would also like to thank the many anonymous supporters of Operation Outreach and hard working members who made these success stories possible.
Operation Outreach is continuing to fund surgeries for children found with heart defects. For money donations, please go to and write in the comment box “for Operation Outreach children in Afghanistan” and your money will be designated for us and you can utilize their tax-exempt status.

Thanks to LTC Kohler of Public Affairs for unlimited use of his pictures.

For donations including shoes, coats, and blankets, and school supplies, please send to:

Operation Outreach
C Co 163 LTF
Camp Phoenix APO AE 09320

What a wonderful story. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Emily said...

That was really interesting. Operation Outreach is a great program!