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

Monday, February 4, 2008

Be a Flea

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.
-Benjamin Disraeli

I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.
-Frank Lloyd Wright

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
-John Quincy Adams

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
-Louis Pasteur

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.
-Marian Wright Edelman

Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
-Thomas Alva Edison

Wow, it is just so exciting to see the donations pouring in. I want to thank everyone that had a part in publicizing Nazia's story. I also want to thank those of you that donated money. I think that the behind the scenes of how the Today Show appearance happened is just so fascinating. It is just another example of how one person can make a huge difference. I wanted to share you parts of an email that was from that one person. Her story is just so amazing. What a difference persistence makes. Here is an excerpt from her email to me. It is lightly edited.

"I am 56 yrs old and my 3 yr old and I was jumping up and down, me with a back problem, I will feel it tomorrow, and hollering, yes, yes, yes!!! My granddaughter kissed Sandra on the TV screen, she was so happy to see me so happy and she had no idea why I was so happy, just that grandmas new friends were on TV about NAZIA, yah, she shouted! I had to quickly divert her when they showed the pictures of Nazia, but when Lt. Col Bramble said that he just wanted Nazia to be able to feel beautiful again, we shouted again!! Yes, Col. Bramble, you go boy!! Chloe and I both said "Yes!!!" again!!

This whole experience has just been fantastic to me. I don't know if I ever even told you in the rush of it all. You see, I read the Kite Runner and during the holidays after I finished reading it, I was wondering what Afghanistan looked like, so I went online to Google and started searching images of Kabul. I tried all kinds of nifty things along the way, I tried to find the Khyber Pass with the satellite, Google Earth, then I tried to map Quest it, pretending that I was traveling, but it was then that I found out that entire area is blocked out or may have never been routed, you cannot see anything.

Somewhere along the way, and I really don't remember how, I found your blog. I thought, you know, this is a worthy cause that I could help with and I said to myself, I need to learn how to do a blog, so I pretty much just copied yours and I found myself coming back each day. Around the middle of January, you sent me an e-mail and said I could help Nazia, that would be a good cause, and I just ran with it. It was as if God was really leading me, and I had no idea where I was going, but I went! One day about the first of Feb, I said you know, this is a story that really tells how hard our military men are working and that they are doing wonderful things over there, this story is so amazing that all of the US needs to hear this story, beyond what friends I could e-mail.

My husband always watched the Today Show in the morning and it occurred to me that maybe I could get Nazia's story on the Today Show. My next door neighbor said, "Sure, right, you would never be able to get it through!" The next day I said to myself I wonder if I could get it through!

I went to the and found the email address for the show. I started e-mailing, I mean like 50 times in an hour, and I did not get any response! I thought, you know, they will probably need Defense Dept. clearance for this (my brother in law just retired from the US Army, so I kind of know about these things, also I have three relatives that worked in the Pentagon) so I decided that I would find out how to e-mail the White House.

I found the somewhere, and I did get a reply back with a telephone number. So I called it and asked how could I get story to the president because I thought he would be happy to know that someone out there was happy we had troops in Iraq and Afghanistan!! The secretary told me to type out the story, not to use links or send pic because it would not go through the firewall. I thought, I don't have time to type this whole story out, so I sent the links anyway to your site and I know they made it through because I got another reply back, automated, the same one I had gotten before. Then I thought, well that is not going to get Nazia's story told except maybe in the White House, I wanted the people to know!!

So I went back and sent about another 50 e-mails to the, finally I got an automated reply, they must be swamped with e-mails on that address, and the reply gave a phone number. I called the number and spoke with a man, he said that he was interested and to send the story to him at, so I did and sent a link to your blog. I did not stop there, I thought, what if he puts it to the side, what if he doesn't think it will fit or something, but I bet that Ann Curry would be interested, so I started trying to e-mail her.

I could not find her e-mail anywhere and I looked several places. I knew it had to be some combination of her name with the ending, so I started ACurry, CurryA, Ann.Curry, Curry.Ann and just kept trying all the different combinations I could think of and guess what!! The next thing I knew I got an e-mail from Ann Curry's secretary, MaryAnn Zoellner!! I could hardly believe my eyes!! I don't know if the man in planning gave her the story or if my e-mails made it through. Then I don't know how but Sandra called me!! I have to ask her now that everything has calmed down.

It was at this point that I became very, very conscious that I was not doing a thing, it was truly God that was working through me!! Then the most amazing thing happened, if that fact that Sandra called me was not amazing enough. I got a second e-mail from Mary Ann asking me if she could speak with me further about the story and could she call between 3 - 6 pm est!! What is so amazing is that all of a sudden, I literally fell ill, I lost my voice!! I am not kidding not one bit, I lost my voice just like that! I thought, Oh, my God, I have taken it this far and now I cannot talk! She is going to call me and I can not talk!!

My cold took over and I had severe laryngitis and could not talk at all. I decided to that it was time that I e-mail back to her and by that time I had Sandra's phone numbers and e-mail address.

I e-mailed Mary Ann the whole thing with the links and Sandra's numbers and e-mail and turned it over to her. Almost as soon as I did that my voice came back some although it was still raspy. Mary Ann called Sandra and they talked and another amazing thing happened!! Lt. Col Bramble was on his way home on TDY!!! He was landing in Ft. Bragg almost as this was all happening!! Can you believe that?? It just had to be God that was working this!! It just had to be!! By this time I could talk some and I spoke with Sandra although raspy, we had a short conversation. I told her that I thought the story was so good and would show the American people how much good we are doing and how compassionate our soldiers were, she asked me what did I want out of all of this and I said only to up Nazia's fund, get her coverage so that the fund could grow and to commend our men and women for the wonderful job they were doing and how proud I was of them and how proud they had made me to be an American and I wanted you to be mentioned for how eloquently you had spoken out for the women and children there in your blog.

We spoke a couple more times on the phone and last night she called me and told me they wanted her there at the interview and she was flying out from Texas and would arrive at 1am this morning and her husband, Jim Bramble was flying up from Ft. Bragg. They would meet there and see each other. He has been gone 16 months, so I know that the meeting was so special for them. I told my husband that God had put me in it, helped me to accomplish what He wanted me to do, then He took me out when my part was finished, He took me out by shutting my mouth which my husband thought was extremely funny!! He said God really does have a sense of humor! He likes Gods humor!! AND that is like what's his name says, and that is the rest of the story!!

I am so curious to find out how Sandra got my phone number. Everything was going so fast and furious I just kept running with this and I don't know how some of it got in place except that God worked it all out! Jim Bramble had to have the Defense Dept approve his interview and they did and said it was a wonderful story and the American people should hear is, so it was approved.

Thank you so much for your wonderful blog, your compassionate heart, your eloquent journalism and all that you are doing! You make us proud to be an American. I have talked to a lot of people that say, oh, those people have been that way for centuries, you cannot change them but that is so not true! They are wonderful people as a majority, there are a few that are making them all look bad, because American are so spoiled they just don't want to see it.

NOW the hawks have turned into doves and the restoration is taking place and our military is not all about killing anymore, it is about CHANGE and HELP and CARING and DOING and making the world a better place. So I think we learned something from Vietnam, it is getting better and it will get better in Afghanistan and Iraq too. But only because of people like you, and Lt. Col Bramble, and Dr. Mohammed and so many of the others. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and if no one else ever thanks you, please remember that I thank you. I know you are getting ready to come home, I am so happy for you and this whole day has meant so much to me and to my family, so thank you again!!

God bless you always!"

Wow, isn't that a great email! I am working on a letter to present to Nazia. She still does not know about our efforts yet, but she will very soon. Here is what I have so far.

Dear Nazia Darr,

On behalf of the people of the United States, we want you know that we are very sorry for what has happened to you. We are all praying for you and we wish you a speedy recovery.

Through the efforts of the blog 6 Months In Kabul and its many amazing readers, we have been able to create a fund for you. To date we have raised $1,740.00 This is entirely your money. Our hope is that you could use the money to further your education or develop a vocational skill.

I have included a number of letters of support from people back in the United States. There are a lot of people that care about you and are praying for you.

Please get well soon.

6 Months In Kabul

If you want to send Nazia a letter I would be happy to give it to her. Email it to me at

Thanks for reading.

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