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 9, 2008

My Damnedest

"Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember."
Oscar Levant(1906 - 1972)

"Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use."
Wendell Johnson

"I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on."
Beryl Pfizer

"It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.' "
Sam Levenson(1911 - 1980)

"Remember that nobody will ever get ahead of you as long as he is kicking you in the seat of the pants."
Walter WinchellUS gossip columnist & broadcast journalist (1897 - 1972)

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."
EpicurusGreek philosopher (341 BC - 270 BC)

"I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do."
Harry S Truman33rd president of US (1884 - 1972)

"It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic is of altogether secondary importance, and that in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things."
Theodore Roosevelt26th president of US (1858 - 1919)

That first quote is so true. I look back at so many of the times in my life that I was genuinely happy and if you would have asked me at the time I would have thought that you were crazy. Medical school is a great example. This deployment will probably be another one- it is just too early to tell right now.
Today was a low tempo day. It is the one day that we are able to sleep in. I always find it ironic how I find myself drinking a lot of coffee and working really hard just to make sure that I stay up late so I can take advantage of being able to sleep in the next morning. I always end up waking up early so it usually ends up backfiring on me.

Today we visited the bazaar. I am trying to load up on movies before I go back home. I visited the Women of Hope booth. For those of you that do not remember, it is the charity program that was started by Betsy 5 years ago after attacks on 9/11. She decided that she needed to come over here to Afghanistan to help out poor Afghan women and children. She now has over 70 women that make all kinds of things for her that she sells at the bazaar every week. Each of the ladies has another 5 women that work for them. The women are mainly refugees that have had their husbands killed in war. If it were not for Betsy then many of the women would be homeless begging on the streets. The work that she has done and the number of lives that she has impacted is incredible. It just goes to show you how just one person can make a huge difference.
Here is her website in case you wanted to visit it.
I received an email tonight from a really good friend of mine. He is an Air Force surgeon based out of Florida. He was due to get out of the military this May after 24 years of service. He was just told that he will be deploying to Balad, Iraq for 6 months. As you can imagine, he is not thrilled about this. I have written this before, there are different stages that you go through when you find out that you will be deployed, especially to a war zone. He soon will reach the sadness phase but it will soon be replaced by the acceptance phase (or the resignation phase, just kidding). I loved the quote on courage from yesterday’s post. It tells of how being courageous and being frightened are not mutually exclusive. It is the same with deploying, I am not happy about leaving my family behind for 6 months, but I am here because I knew that there was the possibility when I signed my contract and I have to uphold my end of the deal. If I have to be away from my family then I want to know that my time was spent doing the best that I could do. Or as Truman said my "Damnedest."

I was thinking about who I was going to hand over the 6 M.I.K reins over to when I go back home. I think that it would be great if my friend who will be deploying to Iraq could do it. I kind of like the sound of 6 Months In Balad. I will have to ask him.

They just opened up a new pizza place and internet center. They were handing out free pizza and other delicious samplers earlier today. Take a look.

Before I sign off I want to make something clear. I want everyone to know that I am not trying to take credit for things that I have not done over here. I am trying to showcase the good that the military as a whole is doing. In the process I am just capturing a tiny fraction of what is being done. I am no longer at Camp Phoenix but I bet there have been a number of humanitarian missions that have come and gone without a single report to the outside world. I think that what we are doing over here is important stuff and I think that it needs to be made public. Think of me as a reporter and not necessarily the subject matter. I do not want to make it seem like I am taking credit for things that I have not done.
By the way, we had our best night ever last night with almost 200 hits. I think that we are going to hit the 10,000 mark very soon. Thanks for helping make this site what it is.
Thanks for reading.