Monday, 9 April 2007

Week 12--Khowst Province

Another week has gone by, and it’s time for another post to the blog. I'm posting on this, my new site, as well as my old site, right now, but this will be my last week to post on both. I like this site because it allows me to imbed the pictures into the text, and I can upload the pictures myself! But I may still need picture girl, because my internet continues to be SLOW and unreliable. And that’s the internet at the office! Check out my new blog site at:
http://deploymenttoafghanistan.blogspot.com/

This week I was thinking about our neighborhood, Khowst Province and Khowst City. Around here, paved roads are the exception rather than the rule. There’s a lot of money flowing in to Afghanistan, and lots of improvements are evident, but there is still a lot of work to be done. This picture of the road outside the FOB is typical; a dirt road, but with construction and improvement evident.


And the improvements are very necessary. This flooding is on that same road, after just a few days of rain. Without a four wheel drive vehicle and a snorkel it is impassable. We made it with Hummers, but even then it was scary.


Here’s what the improved roads look like. Paved roads are a wonderful thing, when you can find them. But just to the side of every paved road are the same mud buildings and dilapidated infrastructure. When I asked my interpreters about speed limits in Khowst City they just looked at me and laughed. When I asked about traffic lights, laughter again. I am told that there are only three traffic lights in Afghanistan, all in Kabul, the Capital city. This is probably an exaggeration, but if so, probably not by much.


But still, improvement continues. This new house in Khowst is not unusual; a beautiful new house (with walled compound, of course!) on an unpaved street next to a flooded low water crossing. Signs of progress are everywhere; rows of Jingle Trucks bringing in new items for sale, a “home depot” type lot with lumber, bricks, rocks, firewood and fixtures, new construction and new jobs. We can’t buy our way out of this war, but people who are busy working have less time for fighting, and less inclination to do so, we hope.


We take a lot for granted; power, water, safety and security to name a few. In Khowst City they get 4 to 8 hour a day of power, usually in the evening. If you want more, you get a generator for your home or business. Of course, running water requires electricity so most homes and business use water tanks on the roof to provide gravity-fed water for drinking and cleaning. Safety and security? Well, in a place where suicide bombings and automatic rifle fire are common, safety and security are not taken for granted.

And still, the patients continue to come. These two little girls represent the future of Afghanistan. Hopefully they will be like Germans and Japanese children from 50 years ago who remember kind American Soldiers who took care of them and gave them candy. We can’t win this war unless we love the Afghan people, and there’s no better place to start than with the children.



Thanks for reading and praying and supporting all of us over here, and back home.

91 comments:

Bruce said...

Richard,
I am so excited to see the construction of the hospital. Yours will be a long lasting legacy indeed. I gave a talk last week to a group of Army Nurse Anesthetists and wouldn't you know it, one of the members from the audience served with Sunday Olawande, whom the hospital is named. She even had a few pictures of him. I will forward them to you when they arrive. Wishing you and all of your team the best, and please tell Kiali I said hi.
Bruce

Anonymous said...

Rich -

Good luck over there. That is an extremely challenging area of the world to operate in and we all hope that some good comes out of our involvement there.

The question is: will our tenure there have results more like our efforts in Japan after WW2 or will it be more like our efforts in Lebanon during the Reagan administration? That remains to be seen.

Dave

Hubert II said...

Rich,
Keep up the great work. Looks like HQ needs to send your folks some boats though.
Hugs from Houston :)

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 04/11/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

dadinwarnerobins said...

I found you! love, Dad

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I found you too! love, lola

Anonymous said...

Thanks for you blogs! I have adopted a soldier from that area and your blogs help me to know what to send/write!

dadinwarnerrobins said...

I like your new blog because it teaches me a lot. My "knowledge experience" is of the old Silk Road and it's history. . .I am an historian after all! What I learn is most interesting. I'm sending Joanna to Mercer University and using Xlibris. Karen is sending you a copy of the text. A good pillow might help! Love, Dad

Anonymous said...

I love being able to see what's going on from a different perspective. Thank you for taking time to do this... a devoted reader.

redheadedsanta said...

Good site sir. How about a picture of that humongous goiter?

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Richard,

I salute you and your soldiers for keeping us safe. I like the photos and would like to see more photos. pherhaps, you can send it via e-mail. My e-mail address is: anurak.kerekes@us.army.mil

Thanks for your hard work.

George

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