Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Afghanistan Day 38: Camp Eggers (29 June)

Eggers Typical Day (without convoy):  

0430 Wake up, check email
0500 Shower, Dress in uniform (slush time in case shower u have to walk to is in use by others when u arrive)
0530 check email, prepare materials for the day (battle armor, teaching stuff, research, laundry)
0600 eat something or try to blog or floss your teeth
0630 leave for work ( this requires two- four local national security to walk me down the street)
0700 work in hot, smelly, dusty conditions without break or bathroom until 1200

1200 stand in line (mostly in the sun) for 25 minutes of the 30 minute unpaid unlunch (no bags allowed in chow hall, so gotta figure out where to leave gear prior to lunch) while poo trucks remove black water next to chow hall.  Conclude lunch by discovering something u consider edible and then battle flies for your right to consume it before they do.  They out number u, are faster, and more experienced.  Might just wanna use ur time to pee, if u can find a place that isn't occupied already or being emptied by poo trucks.  Plan accordingly- most stalls will not physically fit u inside- no body armor, and knees against the door!  Be careful to not gain an ounce of weight because you won't be able to climb inside the stall, period.  Beware that the toilet seat is not attached and will fall off if u bump it and probably land on the backside of your legs. Your weapon, which CJ7 mandates you must have with u at all times, will likely clock you in the face when you lean over to undo your uniform buttons.   Hassle.  My vote- go turn in laundry!

12030 walk back to work in dusty, hot, still smelly conditions and work without a break or bathroom until next meal time. 

1700 (5 pm)  you again stand in line for your unpaid meal time.  if you go over your 30 minutes, you must make up the time after wards.  Prepare for battle against flies.  Nobody tells u about the crafty speed devils, but they are ready and waiting.  Choke down sumthin and report back to work.  If you showered ever in your life, you can't tell.  you are slick with sweat. 

2000 (8 pm) you are done with work, maybe.  All the shops on base are closed, so hopefully you didn't need to go to the finance office, BX, post office, local national shops on base, barber, laundry service, or anywhere else for that matter.  Internet traffic is in critical demand and traffic swells from 6 pm to 6 am, so forget uploading photos or having skype for more than a few seconds at a time.

2030 arrive at billeting.  open door.  step inside.  something crunches in the dark.  turn on light.  discover a bajillion ants all over your floor.  they are eating your flip flops that you must wear to and from and during showering.  what kind of ants eat rubber?!  commence ant killing and ant prevention strategies until

2050 chew off your own arm.  offer it to ants.  blog about it.  or exercise.  or pee.  or sleep.

Repeat!  You have no days off.  No breaks. only 2 unpaid 30 minute meals during 12 hour shifts. You work all holidays.  Weekends do not exsist.  You smell bad.  You are congested.  You have a headache.  Everyone works shoulder to shoulder- literally- in a small, cramped, sagging, improvised office.  Dial-up internet works sometimes.  Cellphones work basically never for local purposes, networks are busy or messages just fail to send.  By the way, you live with your boss.  Not only do you get to be together for the entire work day and meals, but you also get to spend the majority of your "off" time together. 

Highlights of your day:  germx, kleenx, brushing your teeth (with bottled water of course since the water is non-potable), and sleeping while war happens around you and earthquakes support the general efforts of life to prevent you from resting properly. 

Today I spent the entire day in the toasty "clam shell" for Combat Life Saver training.  This certifies me to give IV's and volunteer in the clinic.  I did very well with the giving of the IV part and horrible with the receiving an IV part.   I am needing one final type of ID before I will be fully operational as an escort, convoy commander, mission commander, and CLS.  Soon to be fully equipped.   Tomorrow is more book writing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Afghanistan Day 36: KAIA

So I'm finally caught up for a day at least with things.  I have a bed!  yey!  I am at the new base assignment just as a quit time to get set up and unpack.  I return to Camp Eggers sometime tomorrow.  It was still productive to come here and meet people and get oriented.  Military counterparts have been really welcoming, supportive, informative, and generally friendly.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Afghanistan Day 35: KAIA NATO Base (26 June)

This week I met my team, the Mentors from West Point.  We went shooting.  It was good.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Afghanistan Day 27 : Camp Eggers (June 18)

I got the first school kit in the mail today!

Thank you Lingwall family!  :D

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Afghanistan Day 24: Camp Eggers June 15

Volleyballs to the secondary school nearest to the base.

this school needs more sports equipment- basket balls, volley balls, ping-pong balls with paddles (they have 2 tables but no gear), tennis balls, soccer balls, and frisbees. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Afghanistan Day 23: Camp Eggers June 14

Today I went on a humanitarian mission to a local elementary school and gave donated school supplies to kindergartners.

They will need blankets as the weather changes in the fall- donations welcome!  :D

We played on the playground and I got many hugs and bossah (kisses).  These little girls were my favorites, and I theirs.  We enjoyed spending time together.  

The children belong to parents who are directly involved with conflicts and the families needed support for school/child care.  The fathers are away fighting and trying to support Americans in the missions to solve problems.  The mothers do the best they can with what they have.  They do the best they can with what they know and what is available to them. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Afghanistan Day 8: Camp Eggers (May 30)

So we have 9 bodies working in the "office".  they are assigning 8 more to our space next month.

Afghanistan Day 6: Camp Eggers (May 28)

I'm eating! Look, a random meal:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Afghanistan Day 4: Camp Eggers (May 26)

 Camp Eggers is really interesting.  There is a hodge podge of beautiful old Iraqi embassy buildings, US military tents, temporary buildings, and subtle indicators of everyday life.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Afghanistan Day 2: Bagram -->Kabul

My last flight...May 24th.  Feeling tired and dirty!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pax Terminal, Bagram May 24

Afghanistan Day 1: Bagram May 23

Boots on ground in Bagram.  It's dusty, hot, dirty, and smelly.  We started out with briefings and then stood in the sun for 2.25 hours in battle rattle with all our gear (which was wet from rain in Manas- yum!).

First glimpse of Afghanistan....

Leaving Manas Part 4


I learn about air data interpreting stalls while the pilot enjoys a sandwich...