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Hallelujah in Herat

PRT Herat | Day 25 – The weather here astounds me. Tuesday it was beautiful blue skies and the helicopter left us standing on the helipad. Wednesday it was dark grey skies and pelting down rain preventing any helicopters from reaching us. This morning, we awoke to beautiful blue skies again and we finally made it out of Kabul.

We originally planned to be in eastern Afghanistan today, but we traveled west so we could get moving. We’ve decided to extend our 30 Days Through mission for approximately five days, to give us a chance to cover everything we need to. The story is more important than the timetable.

We jumped aboard a U.S. Air Force C-130, which made a quick pit stop at Kandahar Air Field. When we found out we were going back to drop some soldiers off, Ken and I just looked at each other and prayed the plane wouldn’t break. We made it to Herat this afternoon and were greeted by our Italian hosts.

Another lion found

PRT Herat | Day 26 – Thank you Chris. Your comment and questions to my “Hallelujah in Herat” blog led me on a very interesting journey. To catch everyone up, he basically asked “Why is Herat so nice,” and I went out and found some answers.

When I woke up this morning, I was thinking about writing about provincial reconstruction teams and what the Italians are doing here. Then I read his comments and decided to do a little Herat investigation. When I heared the answers, my ideas for a blog changed.

We went into the city and saw some construction projects and when we got back we ran to get some coffee. I walked into the shop and the shopkeeper is a 23-year-old Afghan from Herat. He speaks English well enough that I asked him Chris’s questions.

A little happiness

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 state of Herat

PRT Herat | Day 28 – I love my father and the embroiled conversations that erupt between us sometimes. I cherish the moments where we disagree and we go back and forth on various facts and ideals. I haven’t always listened to him, but over the years I’ve learned that we may not always agree, but his opinions are always based on some founding principle.

Since being out in the field with Ken, I haven’t had many opportunities to talk with my father. The time we did get to chat he told me how he had to disconnect himself from this project because he felt as though he was getting too involved. I assured him I wanted him to participate as much as possible in this project, but to also learn from what we are learning out here and not to get stuck in the mud. I’ll admit, the one trait that flows through all Gallahans, is being stubborn. We’ve mastered it.

Point of Pride

PRT Herat | Day 29 - Afghanistan is such a huge topic across the world, it's easy to forget the individual stories here. So many people are grouped together and called Romanians, Croatians, Dutch or Americans, I tend to forget sometimes there are individual people here with their own individual stories and beliefs.

Nazifa's story was particularly touching. To me, these stories highlight not only the caring nature of humanity, but the caring nature of nations. Visa processes are very difficult, I know because I'm trying to navigate the maze right now with my wife. So for a nation like Italy to allow Nazifa in for the medical treatment symbolizes something greater, something I believe hearkens to the soul of nations.

Somehow during my thoughts, I remembered talking with the Lithuanians at PRT Chagcharan. They told me how they asked their country to knit 500 caps for them to hand out to Afghan children during the winter. They were very proud to say their country not only knit 500,

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