Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hats, Mittens, and a long couple of days

Today is Thursday the 30th, I haven't put anything down for about 6 days, which is not because we haven't done anything, but because I have to find both the time, energy and correct mood all at the same time to write about what has gone on in the last couple of days, and that is not always as easy as it sounds. It really does seem to be an intermittent combination of events. (That was a nice way of putting it, don't you think?)

Anyway... I have some pictures from the Kuchis again. They truly are the poorest folks I have seen as a group anywhere. I don't mean that as a pitying comment, they just get by on less material goods than anyone else I have seen. Their culture has been essentially the same for hundreds if not thousands of years, and if you took this particular group and moved them back 500 years in time, other than the fact that they are not carrying weapons in obvious ways, I would imagine that their life would be very similar to the way it is now.

The Hats and Mittens were sewn up by my Aunt Eleanor and her daughter as well as some friends of theirs, the colors are wild, and the cloth is pile, which I have to say is some of the warmest stuff when it is dry. I am not sure if the kids really knew what to do with all this when they first got it, but they figured it out pretty quickly. A lot of work went into those mittens and hats, and I appreciate it. In addition to Hats and Mittens we passed out coats, shirts, boots, shoes and some sandles, as well as jeans that Charlie and Joyce sent. Overall, I think the whole thing was a success, many of the kids were there without shoes when we got there, and most of the kids really will benefit from the hats particularly. The Jeans are very foriegn to the Kuchis, so it remains to be seen if they will use them, I think future pants will have to go to more city type kids.

This structure is a meat rack. I am not sure what sheep is currently drying in the wind, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't Jake the Sheep from an earlier picture / blog entry. They cut and cure the meat with plenty of salt, and then when the weather doesn't allow for easy transportation they cut it into soup for food for the family. According to John my Interpreter the meat is very good.

My heart goes out to these kids when I see them. They are beyond cute, and live in what are fairly harsh circumstances. One thing is certain, they do not lack for love and attention, although I am not sure if it is the same type of attention our children get, it does allow them to continue to live this lifestyle. We are planning a medical mission out to this village in the future. I am sure that they will appreciate that as well. It is interesting to watch them with our Medic Doc Yeager. He is treated with great respect by the people in the area.

This man is possibly the grandfather, and also possibly the father of the child he is holding. The coat he is wearing is a thick camel wool coat, and if you enlarge the picture it sure presents the story of their life as we get to see it.

The women really aren't allowed anywhere near our location, they actually tried to come out, and were admonished and directed back by the village elder. I can only imagine my sister or mother's reaction to what I witnessed. Lightening might actually strike.

In this trip, we brought them mittens, hats, pants, coats, boots, shoes, 165 lbs of rice a couple of gallons of cooking oil, and a small case of Oreo cookies, just like folks all around the world, somehow everyone likes Oreos.

When we distribute this kind of thing, we have the ANA hand it out, so that it gets into the right hands, it isn't hoarded, and we don't overstep our bounds and offend someone. I think that they enjoy it, maybe not as much as I do, but close.

I was able to give a school teacher some of the packets of papers and pencils that I received fromPat, as well as some of the school supplies I received from Charlie and Joyce. Leo had sent some reading glasses that I also provided him after showing him how to see what would work for his students. He has 40 students, and while I don't have pictures to share of that I am sure that the supplies are being well used.

I am just listening to the cats argue outside my building now, it is about 1900 hours military, 7:00 pm civilian time, here. Right now my wife is probably waking up at 6:30 in Oregon, wondering if it is true that she really has to get out of bed, cause it is so warm there. Since the dog Hannibal left, the cats have come back out of hiding. Hannibal must have weighed over a hundred pounds, and for some reason the cats didn't like being chased by him. He is just a puppy really, but he is a tad bigger than them. With the arrival of the cats, my mouse problem has finally disappeared. It could all be coincidence, or there may be some causal relationship there, who knows.

Chris is playing basketball for his high school, I have gotten to watch him every year for the last 8 years, and I am missing his junior year. That is one of those things you never get back. I am really hope that he will play again next year, his senior year as he has always been gifted that way. He has athletic awareness of his surroundings, and what is happening, and where he needs to be, and he is genuinely a nice guy, even I can tell that.

Steph has been helping her mom shop. Steph has a talent for cutting through all the indecision that other people bring to shopping, and helping you get to the point. I really wish I was home to help with this season as well.

The last day and a half was spent largely up and down the road, quite annoying but we had difficulties that required us to make the trip more than one time. Then we had more issues upon arrival. Weird.

Today an IED went off in the city adjacent to our post. I think it was targeting the Afghan National Police. That is the 5th IED or VBIED in 5 weeks, it is truly getting old. The political situation here seems to constrain the ANA from going out and getting the people who emplace, or make, or direct these IED's. The people who emplace them may be hardened anti government forces, or they may just be some guy who is willing to get 20 bucks by risking his life, it runs the gamut. In any case if we don't spend the time and energy to find and destroy the enemy’s capability to put these in place we will continue to find them one or two at a time. There really is no easy answer for this problem that is for sure.

Okay, I am going to stop now,

I hope you enjoy the pictures.


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