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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Smile In Times of Trouble

"Hope smiles on the threshold of the year to come, whispering that it will be happier."
Alfred Lord TennysonEnglish poet (1809 - 1892)

"Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available."
-Jim Beggs

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."
Thich Nhat Hanh

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
-Leo BuscagliaUS author & lecturer (1925 - 1998)

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."
Thomas PaineUS patriot & political philosopher (1737 - 1809)

I thought that it would be interesting if I showcased some of Dr. Massoud's photos. The first bunch is him giving away some of the donations that were sent by 6 M.I.K. readers. What always gets me is the ever-present smile on people's faces. We could really learn a lot from them. It does not matter if they are homeless children living in street having to make a small fires out of trash to keep warm, or young police men that are paralyzed from the waist down with large abdominal wounds and a colostomy bag, to a criminal that is handcuffed to a bed post and that has been waiting 10 days to get his fractured leg fixed, they all return back a genuine smile when you smile at them and they are very warm and friendly when you talk with them. It seems as though they are able to live life to the fullest not in spite of, but probably because of, having been through 30 years of continuous war.

Here are some kiddos with some of the donations that were sent by readers. It gets really cold at night and they do not look like they are dressed very warm.

These are just a couple random kids ridding on the street with their donkey.

A Kabul car wash.

Here is a kiddo with a donated kaleidoscope. It is probably the first time that he has ever seen one.

School supplies.

Markers and coloring books.

Scented bubbles. They look like they are having a lot of fun with them.

Imagine seeing this site back in the states. A young kid with a cow carcass hanging from the back of his bike.

I have to warn you about this video before you view it. This is a clip from a Kabul marketplace. In this particular section of the market they are selling lamb heads and other internal organs for consumption. In another scene they are roasting lambs head over an open flame.

This other video is also disturbing but for different reasons. It is a video of kids swimming in the Kabul river. The Kabul river has to be the most disgusting water that I have ever seen. Along the sides of the streets there are large drainage ditches that collect and drain sewage. It all eventually pours into this river. You can also see just a ton of trash along the banks. Someone said that they even saw a dead horse in the river. The kids do not seem to mind at all.

This last video is of a typical Kabul market place or bazaar.

Thanks for reading.