I had the opportunity to visit a local school here in Kabul and see the beautiful children in class. We went on a humanitarian mission where we gave out chalkboards, pencils, markers, blankets, toys and candy. We visited a small school where they teach children ages 3 to 7. The instructors are all women and they run the school very well. The children were some of the most well behaved kids I have ever seen. When the teacher told them to sit they all sat on the carpeted floor and listened attentively. It is amazing how children all over the world are basically the same. They love to laugh and play and enjoy getting gifts and all of them love candy. We spent about an hour with the children and the teachers and Andy Bystrom who I am relieving actually taught the children a short lesson about right and left. It really was a rewarding experience to be able to make a difference for these kids and the school and they were all very appreciative. Camp Phoenix has many humanitarian missions and people here are very passionate about giving. Many of you have asked about what you can do to help. Well the soldiers, sailors and airmen here are well taken care of so the best thing you can do is send items for the Afghan people. If you would like to get involved, you may send items such as school supplies, toys, clothes and candy (not chocolate because it melts). If you send them to me I will collect them and make sure they are gathered up for the next humanitarian mission. You may send items to:
Navy ETT - Supply
APO AE 09320
(Please note I added something to my address, Supply, to make sure it gets to me quickly)
I also had my first chance to drive over here. You have to be very careful while at the same time you must drive assertively because you do not want to stop as that increases your chances for trouble. The roads are dangerous and not just because of the other drivers. This is a war situation and you have to be ready for anything. Fortunately, in my short time, I have not encountered anything. There are many fellow military people who left Camp Phoenix this week to go down range to some pretty dangerous places. We all are hopeful that they will be successful in their missions, which includes coming home safely.
I realized I have not given you a Dari lesson lately so here is a brief lesson on some phrases we need to know. Baw ma byaw - Come with me. Estawda sho - Stop. Chop bawsh - no talking. Daowr bekho - turn around. Rooy ba del beft - lie on your stomach. Shor nakho - do not move. Maqawemat nako - do not resist. Wait a minute here. I just realized I think I have been "punked". I think someone gave me the lines to a cheap Afghan porn movie; lesson over.
On Friday the local bazaar came to town. This is the big bazaar with over 100 local vendors who sell their goods to the people here on Camp Phoenix. They are good negotiators so you must bring out your best bargaining skills. It looks a lot like a flee market in the states and they sell everything including carpets, blankets, jewelry, weapons, sunglasses, clothes and dust collecting trinkets. I bought a few things, but I need to learn more about the gems they have here such as rubys and sapphires before I buy any of them. I of course plan on putting the rubys on my slippers and see what happens. You never know...
Peace to you all,
As always, if you can't get enough of these updates, the previous ones are posted on my blog.