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

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Capacity To Care

Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it. As busy, active, relevant ministers, we want to earn our bread by making a real contribution. This means first and foremost doing something to show that our presence makes a difference. And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer. Those who can sit in silence with their fellowman, not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, can bring new life in a dying heart. Those who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief and to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship, the fellowship of the broken.
Henri Nouwen

Each small act of kindness reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of the good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it is passed, until simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.
Dean Koontz, the character of H.R. White in "From the Corner of His Eye"

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Stephen Grellet

The capacity to care is what gives life its most deepest significance.
Pablo Casals

I am getting my quotes from a new site. They are a little longer but well worth the read. Just an FYI, I have started to remove any photos of me or anyone else on my team. I am trying to make it more of an anonymous site since I will be going home soon.

I am pretty excited because I just came up with one last thing readers can do if they want to help out. Everyone already knows about Betsy's Women of Hope project, the Volunteer Community Relations program, and Operation Outreach. Well those of you that read yesterday's post also know about Nazia and how she was brutally beaten and had her nose and ears cut off by her husband. Here are some recent news articles if you would like more information.

It turns out that a civilian physician that I know is helping to manage her care at a local hospital. We talked about the surgeries that they will be doing in the coming months. I thought that it would be a good idea to start a fundraiser because I know that she is poor and in need of financial assistance. Her only possessions are the ones you see and they have all been donated by mentors.

Here is the way the fundraiser will work. If you are interested in contributing to the fund you can donate through or the widget at the top of my blog. Chipin will not charge any money to either the contributor or the fundraiser. The money will get sent to a Paypal account. 2 other people that I know and trust will be remaining in Kabul for some time and will have access to the account to verify the integrity. My goal is to raise $10,000 in 6 months. It would be great to raise more. The funds will be easily transferred to Nazia though Dr.Davis via Paypal. Obviously, no one will make any money from this . I think PayPal charges minimal fees for the money transfer. Other then that, 100% of the money will go to Nazia. If you are also interested in sending cloths or gifts to her you can send them to this address:

Dr. Gary Davis

Liberty House


APO AE 09356

Today at the clinic I did a lot of teaching on women's health. I was locked in a small room with 10 women. The interpreter was really put to the test today. I would ask a question and everyone would speak up at the same time. They would argue and debate the answer amongst themselves. It was a pretty funny site. I would just sit there and enjoy my chai and nuts that they provided for me. I was able to get in a good solid hour of teaching, so from my standpoint I think that it went very well. I think I will try and work on getting them a microscope to use for their exams.
I visited the inpatient ward again and I spoke with the family of the patient that is quadriplegic with a serious head injury. I am just so amazed at how his brother and a cousin are at his bedside 24 hours a day. When I approached them they were giving him physical therapy. I asked them how they were getting by since they were not working. They said that they were dipping into their savings. I think more then anything that I have encountered so far, this was a great example of the Afghan spirit. They are so dedicated to their family members that they are willing to put their lives on hold and care for a family member that is in need.
I spoke with some kids that are always hanging behind a fence outside of the clinic when we arrive. I usually just wave or throw them a candy but today I was able to speak to them for a little while. They live up in the hills in a small home with no running water or electricity. I asked them how they got their water and they said that they had to walk down the hill and carry it up everyday. I asked them how often they bathed and they said once a week, every Thursday. I asked then what kind of food they ate and they replied potatoes and rice. I asked if they ever ate meat and they said once a month. I asked them if they could have one gift what would it be. They all said chocolate. I told them that I always give them chocolate. Aside from chocolate what gift did they want. Their reply was some new shoes. They were wearing thin plastic boots without any socks. Their feet must have been freezing.
Whenever we pull up there they are. They usually are asking for things. Sometimes they are singing and dancing. The kid on the far right does this thing were he does a fake cry to get attention but he is unable to stop breaking into a smile in the middle of it. It always makes me laugh. When I start to think about the things that I will miss about Kabul these kids will be high on the list.

Thanks for reading.

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