Sunday, September 28, 2008


A large part of what we do here involves holding meetings with locals. The meetings for us, in the engineer section tend to be with, either Afghan government officials or local contractors who are working on our projects. The very first meeting I had here was with the governor of Logar province, Governor Wardak. We had dinner at his house so we could all meet and discuss the issues for us, the new team on the ground. Two weeks ago Governor Wardak was killed by a roadside bomb in the northern part of his province. That served to remind us that the violence here is not just aimed at NATO forces, but also those who work too closely with us.

Nonetheless, even with the constant threat of violence here, locals continue to work with us toward the common goal of making Afghanistan better. Just this week, I had a meeting with the Gardez city mayor, the Director of Power and the Director of Water Supply to discuss an in depth plan to provide paved streets, power, fresh water and sewer to a large portion of the city. Unlike many of the meetings we had, all parties came together with ideas and a willingness to genuinely work together. Like all meetings here, I left not completely sure what course this project might take. However, I did leave with an unusual optimism and hope is a valuable thing in Afghanistan.

Thank you and God Bless.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Slow Days

The days here are almost always the same. The only thing that varies is whether you go on a mission or not. If I don’t have a mission, I wake up at 6:30 to go running, then shower and head to breakfast at 8:00. After breakfast we go in to the office and work until lunch. Sometime after lunch is gym. After dinner it’s reading, watching movies, playing games and bed. It’s the same thing everyday, which can be good and bad. That routine really helped me get back into the swing of things after leave. But lately it has gotten too predictable and really boring. In fact I didn’t realize just how boring it is until I wrote it all down and read it again.

Mission days are more exciting, due to the fact that it’s more dangerous, there is more open space to cover and there are different places and people to see. However, as we get closer to leaving, nobody seems to want to go on missions, as though having something bad happen in last few months would be even worse. So in the remaining time we are stuck, not looking forward to the days that go by the fastest and hoping for boring days on the FOB.

Thank you and God Bless.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Afghan Fall

Recently I got back from a week long mission to the border region and aside from the daily missions far too close to Pakistan, it was the first time that it has felt like spring here. Where I am at, in the mountains, the weather has been pretty nice all summer long. It would usually get up in the 90’s during the day and cool off to the mid 60’s at night. In fact the weather in Gardez is by far its most endearing quality. However, over the past few days there has been a cool breeze during the day, and at night it has gotten to the point that a jacket is almost a necessity. It feels more comforting when the weather starts to get cool here; for one thing the violence tends to drop as it cools and all the fighters head back to Pakistan for the winter. For another the fall has always been my favorite time of year, so even if there are no trees with colorful leaves, it still reminds me of fall days in Vermont. Fall also means that we are getting closer to going home for good, and that above all else, is the most comforting part of the changing weather.

Thank you and God Bless.