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, February 15, 2008

Sand Flys

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."
Douglas Adams

"Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World."
Christopher Columbus

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end."
Ursula K. LeGuin

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff finger

sat the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do--

determined to save

the only life you could save.
Mary Oliver, The Journey

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
M Scott Peck

Today was a down day. I have been unpacking and repacking my bags over and over again. Every time I do it I find a new way to make my bag more compact and I find stuff that I really do not need. A lot of people are mailing large black "gorilla boxes" back home.

While I have been writing about Nazia I have neglected to mention the VCR trips that have been going on. They have really been working overtime. People that participate in the program volunteer their free time to help sort donations and then deliver them to people in need. Here are a few pictures from their last trip. They visited a school for homeless/orphaned children.


As you can see from the pictures a lot of children have leshmaniasis lesions over their face. The blue dye that has been applied to their lesions is Gentian Violet. Here is a Wikapedia article on Gentian Violet. Here is another article on Leishmaniasis.


In the states Leishmaniasis is extremely rare. I did a little reading on the treatment of Leishmaniasis and no where does it mention Gentian Violet. I am sure that most people are unable to afford the proper treatment. That is why you see such extensive damage from the disease.


Here is the little sand fly that causes all of the problems.



Someone asked about what will happen to Nazia after she is discharged. I am not really sure. When I spoke to her surgeon he said that he will try and get her back to her parents, although he does not know where they are located. He thinks that they are in a refugee camp in Pakistan. I asked him if he thought that it was a good idea to return her to her parents, considering they gave her up to such a monster. He did not have an answer. I spoke with Dr. Davis and he said that he will try and get her into a special house and school for orphaned children. He knows of a very wealthy philanthropist that owns a company that everyone would recognize. She comes to Kabul every so often to do various charitable missions. One of her projects is for orphaned children. She pays someone to house and care for the children on an individual basis. Dr. Davis said that he will try and get Nazia into her program.


I will keep you updated as I find out more information. Meanwhile, one of my big goals for next week will be to establish a bank account for Nazi so I can eventually transfer her funds into an actual account.


Thanks for all of your support.

1 comment:

Marcie Hascall Clark said...

Thanks for all the insight into life and health in Kabul.
Hadn't yet heard about the Gentian Violet for leishmaniasis.
Would love to hear more about your experiences with Leishmaniasis.