A little happiness
Written by Nathan Gallahan   
Sunday, 07 March 2010 17:44

PRT Herat | Day 27 – We’re back! We had some problems with internet, which prevented us from uploading on time. I’m really hoping Day 26 doesn’t get lost in the stack, because I’m hoping it spurs some interesting conversation. I can’t stop thinking about the “Lion of Herat” everywhere I go.

So today, Ken and I jumped in an Italian provincial reconstruction team convoy and watched as they distributed food and medical supplies to a local Kuchi tribe. The Kuchi tribe is a nomadic tribe so we anticipated a great drive out to the middle of nowhere where we would see vast fields of tents and Sheppard’s.

We were wrong and we learned something new.

The nomadic Kuchi tribe also has some permanent homes about 15 minutes from here. They live there for a little while before migrating onto other areas. The only problem with today was the complete lack of an interpreter. It’s a pretty strange experience to be embedded with Italians, where only a handful speaks English, while visiting Afghans who don’t speak any English. We walked around with a desire to talk to any of them, but we were unsuccessful. It was still better than Kabul!

So basically my day included sitting in a truck marveling at the outskirts of Herat city and then watching as Afghans received assistance. I’m lucky because even if I don’t have an interpreter, I can always communicate with the Afghans with my camera. It’s a simple language really. I point at my camera, mumble some gibberish which hopefully translates to “may I take your picture”. The Afghans then look at me like I’m crazy. I take their picture and show it to them on my digital display. They howl with laughter. This generally causes a large mass of Afghan to rush over to see what’s happening. Then I’m busy taking picture upon picture surrounded by laughing and astonished Afghans. This is my little bitty contribution to counter insurgency and I love it.

The important part here isn’t my Afghan portraits, it’s the Italian PRT. These guys are going out and visiting with Afghans every day. I always hear of schools or wells being built, but the medical side is extremely important also. There’s one picture I uploaded of four children standing there with a little baby, he looks really sick. I know the father took him into the doctor ’s office but what I don’t know is what was wrong with him. I really hope everything’s ok. It just tears me up to see these innocent children living life in such poverty.

While I was standing there, I noticed all of these holes in the ground and some of them were covered by tarps . Then, a little girl walks up and lifts the tarp up, dips a bowl in the collected water and hands it off to her brother to drink. It’s been very rainy here and these holes have filled with water. I couldn’t imagine living like that.

I saw no electricity, no running water, the children and people were dirty. It was just a sad state of affairs. I’m glad we had a chance to bring a little happiness into their lives.

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Comments (6)add comment

Kevin said:

Why would anyone post such a comment?
Your grammar is fine. Keep up the good work. smilies/grin.gif
March 08, 2010
Votes: +0

Gary Huber said:

I have a friend, Stu Steinberg, (on FaceBook) currently working out of Kabul with the UN. You might look him up as he is working with the AFGHAN Border Police. Stu is a former EOD Specialist and Veteran of the Vietnam War.
March 08, 2010
Votes: +0

Gary said:

Spelling, schmelling – the truth from this vantage point is without clutter, well done!
March 08, 2010
Votes: +2

Nathan Gallahan said:

You're right. I'm very embarrassed about my grammar. I've known for most of my life I'm not the best with it smilies/sad.gif Please remember these blogs are raw with no editing chain. I've willingly thrown my grammatical reputation away for the sake of complete autonomy.
March 07, 2010
Votes: +3
..., Low-rated comment [Show]

Lodging Girl said:

I have become competely enthralled in the lives and culture of the Afhgans while I've been here at KAF. It started when I went to the Bazaar for the first time. Before coming to Afghanistan, the image I had in my head was completely different. I didn't realize how much they didn't have. I didn't realize the way they dressed had such a biblical look. It's a hug culture difference. At this point I'm really not sure what I was thinking anymore, but I know whatever I thought of this place was wrong. Secondly, this site has brought a lot to the picture and to be able to see what it's like beyond KAF is amazing. I gave supplies to the Vendors and the Afghan children that were at the bazaar and just the look on there faces was enough to make me want to know more. I gave them shoes, toys, toiletries and school supplies. I had to educate one of the children on how to use a paint set. He didn't know what it was. After I explained to him what he could do with it he was very excited, I just hope my demonstration got the right point across. I got to take a couple of pictures of a kid and his friend, they reminded me of my children back home, and when I showed the picture they both started laughing. I wondered what they were going to be doing that night after they went home.
When I see the children in the pictures you take they usually look so happy, and the girls are beautiful. I really hope that this up and coming generation will be one that's strong and educated so they can protect eachother and keep there government from crashing. I believe Afghanistan could be, and in some places already is, a beautiful place. From what I can see and all I've heard I believe that this counter-insurgency is just what this place needs, I think it will be a success once we are finished here.
March 07, 2010
Votes: +1

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