Hi all! Sorry again for the delay!
First off, a HUGE thank you to the DeKalb Red Cross who shipped almost a dozen care packages for our Red Cross canteen and for the soldiers over here. Pleas know that your donations make a world of difference!
I am safe and well here in Afghanistan and I confess the reason behind the sporadic blog posts is simply that we are all exhausted and burned out. We have 24 days left on our deployment, have not had a day off in over 100 days and given the nature of the work we are doing, each day now seems to take everything out of us.
That being said, we are still hard at work and doing our best to make a difference, it’s just that we used to be able to squeeze in time to do something small for ourselves and that just doesn’t seem to happen anymore. We are just too tired. Anyways! On a happier note, yesterday was one of the best days we’ve had in Afghanistan. The four of us at the Red Cross hosted a wonderful BBQ event with approximately 200 attendees! The BBQ was a combined Father’s Day/Recognition event for supporters of the Red Cross and it could not have been more successful.
Our food was donated by our volunteers or supporting military units. We had most of our desserts shipped from home including fudge, cookies, freeze ice pops (huge hit!) plus we baked several cakes and such in our tiny easy-bake style oven. The 44 Medical Brigade brought dozens of 6-packs of near-beer (since alcohol is prohibited). We had water guns and water balloons sent from home which were a blast. The First Cav Band played for over two hours and were just fantastic plus we had our good friend Chris manning the monster grill and cooking up steaks, burgers and hot dogs.
The event was such a success that we had people stopping in the office or coming up to us in the dining hall long after the event was over to thank us and let us know how much it was appreciated and most importantly, that for a short period of time they felt like they were just at a BBQ and not stuck in a war zone a thousands of miles from friends and family. The best compliment in the world.
Otherwise, every day brings the regular demands. The Fallen Hero Ceremonies occur so regularly that we are attending several funerals a week. I did a MedEvac last night which is always a rewarding though draining experience. I am still making those once or twice a week. We still visit the hospital everyday to talk to the patients there. Last week I had a young guy, 20 years old, in the ICU tell me I was the first female he’d actually had a conversation with in 6 months. He was stationed at a fire base with 150 other guys. Sadly we missed the Egyptian Hospital this week to prep for the BBQ but Ingrid and I hope to perhaps go tomorrow to make up for it.
And finally, I forgot to mention that I have initiated another weekly event at our office. We are having coffee and cake with Timmy the Combat Stress Dog every Wednesday evening and have had quite a bit of success with this event. In fact, the USO actually came over one night and said they wanted to start doing the same thing over at their place! Back off USO! ;-) It is amazing the number of people who will make the effort to come out and visit our office in order to play with Timmy and we have been very pleased with the response! Timmy’s third birthday is actually next week so coming off the success of yesterday’s BBQ I’m in the midst of planning another one for next week!
After that it’s just two more weeks until our replacements arrive! ;-)