Thursday, December 31, 2009


If home is where the heart is, then home is with Scott.

Scott and I made it home! The travel was absolutely miserable but we made it home in record time. We landed in London at 6am and made it Cambridge around noon. When we arrived to our home, we discovered that our neighbors let one of their friends stay in our house during the holiday season. It was pretty creepy to see sheets on our bed that were not ours, hairs in the shower that did not belong to us and food in the refrigerator that we did not leave. I was (am) pretty traumatized, but Scott was (is!) amazing and handled the situation.

After that was taken care of, we went into town. But first we had to find some civilian clothes to wear and that was quite a task. We had a hard time remembering where everything in the house is located, including coats and gloves. It was frustrating. Once we got into town, we wandered around and not much has changed. We spent a lot of money on alcohol and now we are settling in for a movie, so I gotta go.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Kind of Care Package

I've officially given up on counter insurgency. Now I'm all about helping people. And I've been meaning to post an entry on the school situation for a long time, so here it is.

It seems like in Afghanistan when you go to sch
ool, you either have a roof over your head or school books. You can't have both. The conditions that these children attend school are amazing. They walk several miles, their teachers do not receive a salary, they have no books, no pens, no paper. The girls risk their lives to attend school and if the school does not have a privacy wall, parents will not send their girls to school after a certain age. The classrooms are bare except for a blackboard and some chalk. I've gone out to two schools that the PRT has completed to inspect the buildings for warranty items. I have been able to see the children in their classroom and it breaks my heart.

I have received several boxes of school supplies from my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mike. But I would like to but the request out for more supplies. Instead of sending me a care package, use that money and send these kids some paper and pens!! Here's a list of things they could use:

- Chalk (white and colored)
- Blackboard erasers
- Maps (World maps, maps of Afghanistan or t
he region)
- Paper

- Pens
- Pencils
- Notebooks

- Folders
- Crayons

It's been a while since I was in school, so anyt
hing else you can think of would be great. Nothing in Afghanistan goes to waste.

And I want to share some pictures. The first set is of an open air girls school in Jalalabad City.

These next set of pictures are from a site visit earlier this week. It was an all girls school, grades 1-9. There were many younger girls, about 30-35 in each class. But as we toured the different classrooms, higher the grade, the less girls that were present. It was interesting because all the teachers were male. Yet I could see how much they cared about the girls' education and how they thought it was important.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Foward Operating Base Finley-Shields

A long time ago I received a comment on the blog asking me to post pictures of the FOB. This soldier was friends with one of the soldiers who the FOB is named after.

It's taken me long enough, but here are the pictures. We are very lucky as we have one of the nicest, if not the nicest FOBs in Afghanistan. This FOB used to be a R&R destination for Russian soldiers in the 1980s and there are a lot of permanent structures, which is a luxury in a war zone. When the US "discovered" this area, they spent many years and dollars renovating the buildings and turning it into a base. There is also a lot of green, which is again rare for Afghanistan.

The main entrance to the FOB.

For a while we had some puppies, but they have since found a better home.

The gym, where I spend a considerable amount of time working off the unlimited supply of Baskin Robbins ice cream.

A nice porch where you can take an hour of your day and play some ping pong.

The CE lair. If it looks messy, that's because we're busy!

The Hotel. Need I say more?

I posted this picture in an earlier blog, but I did not mention that this is the garden.

Top Dawg

A couple weeks ago the top enlisted Airmen came to visit the PRT. He is called the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) and his last name is Roy. He is a civil engineer by trade--a dirt boy (heavy horizontal) to be exact. And we took him on a QA/QC mission. It's the first time the CMSAF has ever been on a combat mission outside the wire. Sergeant Newland, the engineering non-commissioned officer in charge took him on the mission. Below are some pictures and a link to a news story.

Jalalabad vs. Gardez

Jalalabad may be brutally hot in the summertime, but it is quickly making up for the heat now that it's December.

So anyway, back to Jalalabad vs. Gardez. I think the pictures are pretty self explanatory...



I get cold just looking at Scott's pictures!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Questions to Ponder

1. If the 9/11 attacks were somehow prevented, would the United States still have invaded Afghanistan?

2. What is more of a threat to the security of the United States: being owned financially by China or terrorists in Pakistan?