Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Today was also notable for a strange presence in the sky. Upon awakening and heading out for the shower building I saw some fluffy white and grey things in the sky. They were of course clouds or Abr-haa in Dari. I had seen only one or two flimsy whispy examples of this meteorological phenomenon in my 2 months here. But today the entire sky was filled with clouds and the temperature was blessedly cool.
Thank God for clouds. Who knows there might even be rain next month?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Camp Spann is essentially split into a US (ARSIC) and OMLT (NATO) side. The NATO side is populated by soldiers from the various NATO countries who are mentoring ANA units throughout the northern region. We eat in the same chow hall and use the same gyms, but otherwise there isn't a whole lot of interaction.
Quiz and Waffles is held on the OMLT side of the camp, where US forces are rarely authorized to go. The concept for Quiz and Waffles is simple. The losing team from last week makes a quiz for the next week and comes early to make waffles for all who attend. Teams are chosen ad hoc and usually do better if there is at least one European member. The quizzes have covered everything from Billboard top 100 songs, to Michael Jackson trivia, national capitals, history, medical topics etc. It is a great opportunity to get together with folks you don't normally see to talk and get to know them. The waffles are great as well. They are made from a sweet batter Norweigan recipe that results in a waffle similiar to the picture which does not need syrup. There is some interesting brown Norweigan cheese which tastes slightly of nuts or some jam to put on as a topping. It seems like the event is primarily a German, US, Norweigan, Swede and Croat endeavor. Thankfully my team has done well both times I have attended, so I will be eating waffles next week instead of making them.
A hearty thanks to our NATO allies for sponsoring this fun and wholesome get together.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The 22nd of August heralds the start of Ramadan. In this country, which is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ramadan is a very important month. We had the ANA Corps Cultural Advisor- ie Mullah, come and give us a lecture on Ramadan last week. Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, sexual conduct, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is meant to teach patience, modesty and spirituality. Per our lecturer it makes people more understanding of the plight of the poor and motivates believers to give alms and perform good deeds. It certainly will make our mentoring mission interesting. While not directly forbidden, it is considered in very poor taste to eat or drink in the presence of a muslim who is fasting during Ramadan. Productive earthly work also tends to decrease as muslims are fasting and devoting more time to prayer.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The Afghan people have always highlighted that their country will never be conquered by any invading force.
Monday, August 17, 2009
issues with ambulances, medical training, logistics and much more. Afterwards we also visited with the clinic on the ANP recruit training center and gave a class on hypertension diagnosis and treatment. Much like our first set of encounters with the ANP Medical folks, the meetings were cordial, productive and appreciated. Perhaps in a few months I can show you how the clinic looks when it is in use. Another productive day doing the job I was actually sent here to accomplish. Yeah.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Well thankfully I feel vindicated to some degree now that the Navy has authorized those of us wearing Army Combat Uniforms (ACU's) to wear the Navy Jack on our left arm.
The Navy Jack is the earliest flag of the United States Navy. A red and white striped flag with a rattlesnake and the motto "Don't Tread on Me!". Usually this particular jack was only to be flown from the bow of the oldest Navy vessel on active service when secured at anchor or pierside, but since 31 May 2002 the Secretary of the Navy directed all US Navy Ships to fly this flag for the duration of the War on Terrorism. Thus it is an altogether fitting patch for a sailor to wear while deployed with the Army in support of the War on Terrorism
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thank you Brother Rats, Rah Virginia Mil