Well, unless the war ends soon it looks like it will be a long summer. There appears to be no shortage of sick and injured in this part of Afghanistan. The days are long, but morale at the hospital is high. Even with everything that is going on, it is hard to blog every week. By the time I subtract anything that would violate Operational Security (OPSEC) and anything that would violate someone's privacy (my own rule) and anything the Army would consider detrimental to good order and discipline (so they don't shut down my blog) sometimes I'm not left with much to say!
But I can always write about life on the FOB, or occasionally off the FOB. This week I was off the FOB on a mission, so I took a few pictures.
I'm always amazed at how difficult life is in this part of Afghanistan, and how resilient these people are.
With the roads around here, four wheeling is an important skill.
But in contrast to the obvious poverty, there are signs of increasing prosperity.
And wherever you go, kids will be kids.
With gas prices so high at home, I always wonder how much they pay for gas here. I do know that their gas stations don't offer many amenities.
And even here, you encouter traffic jams!
And at the end of the trip, it's nice to find a paved road to take you home.
With respect to life on the FOB, one question I am often asked is, "How is your life different?" Well, it would probably be easier to list the things that are the same. But here is a partial list of things that are different for me here:
I wear a uniform all day, every day. No civilian clothes allowed.
If I get to wear my physical training uniform (PTs) for a day I consider that a day off!
I carry my weapon with me everywhere I go. And I keep it clean and ready for use.
I live in a bunker, and there is a reason why!
When it's time to eat, I've got to walk about 1/2 a mile, one way.
When I want to take a shower, I walk about 100 meters to the shower trailer.
To go to the bathroom I walk about 20 meters to the latrine trailer.
I live and work with the same people, day after day after day.
The patients keep coming, day after day after day.
My office has no indoor plumbing.
The hospital has limited indoor plumbing.
I live in a bay with five other men. We each have our own space, separated by wooden partions and wall lockers and curtains.
My duty day lasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Despite the list above, I enjoy being here. Working with the Soldiers and Airmen in the hospital is very satisfying. The work we do, the lives we save and change for the better, makes the separation and danger worthwhile. When my time here is done I'll be ready to go home, but I will miss this place and this job and these people.
Thanks for your support and prayers and comments. God bless you all.