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:
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.