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Afghanistan (Day 10) PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 May 2008 14:02
Greetings from Kabul/the Persian Gulf!

Hey y'all

Hope all is well in Canada! Thought I'd give you my last update from the land afar....

Picking up where I left off....

Our last show in Kandahar was fantastic and thankfully uninterrupted by the Taliban. The crowd was great and very enthusiastic, not to mention appreciative! A great time was had by all and I've received emails since from soldiers that attended thanking us for taking the time to come over here to entertain and visit with them. It is most definitely one of the most gratifying things I've ever done in my life.

Sunday morning we took off in a C130 Hercules for the short flight (1 1/2 hrs) to Kabul. There we were met at KAIA airport by a transport convoy of 8 armored SUV's which were to take us through the city of Kabul to our location at ISAF Headquarters (International Security Assistance Force) which is also the home of NATO in Afghanistan. That trip was about 20 mins through a city in shambles....I don't know if I can explain it to you without you seeing pictures. All I can say is we have no idea in the western world how much we have and how much we take for granted. The city has no municipal structure. There are approximately 4 million people there, some with cars, some with donkeys and carts, some with bicycles, most on foot....all trying to occupy the same streets which are chaotic and have no traffic signals or stop signs. The roadway is paved, but nothing else. Thebuildings are in various states of decay. They have no visible waste management system and they are their own recyclers. Every item that is possibly discarded as waste is used for something, whether it's table scraps or a large plastic vegetable oil containers. It's unbelievable.  There are people everywhere. Most in traditional muslim clothing, all women with their heads covered, some completely covered in Bherka's. You see some children playing in the dirt....some outside an elementary school which is unrecognizable as such....and one in particular who stands out in my memory ~ he was about 5 yrs old and recognized the convoy of vehicles as that of the coalition forces...as we passed, he held his little hand in the air, waved at us and gave the soldiers the thumbs up. It leaves you
speechless. The reasons and ramifications of this "holy war" seem so senseless.

We reached our destination without incident.

ISAF Headquarters houses between 1,800 - 2,000 coalition forces made up of over 40 countries of which Canadian soldiers number perhaps 80. They were very happy to see us and treated us to a welcome BBQ that night complete with 2 beer each! It was welcomed by each and every one of us and it helped wash the residual Kandahar dust down with a smile.

(The weather in Kabul was much more manageable, daytime temp of 25 degrees and at night you actually could put on a fleece)

The next day we had a security briefing and then they arranged a game of vollyball/ball hockey for us which was great fun! We did our sound check and put on an amazing show that night! The crowd was awesome and gave each and every one of us an individual standing ovation after we performed! It was a huge crowd and a great way to end off our last show of the tour!

This morning we flew back to the Persian Gulf which is where I'm emailing you from. We leave tomorrow morning to head back to Canada where we are all anxious to return to our luxuries and amenities we so miss after only 2 weeks.....we are the truly fortunate, as most of the soldiers here are away for 6 - 9 months. We should all be grateful for what their sacrifices afford us.

We all have mixed feelings about leaving.....our experience here has been an eye opening adventure that we're not ready to have end, still we long for home and those that we've been missing. I know that when I arrive, I will for the next while be more thankful than usual for my blessings and hopefully appreciate the simple things I so often take for granted. I know for sure that I am blessed beyond the simple man and hope that I can remember that every day.

Thanks for letting me share my experience with you and for all your emails....they made me feel I was never that far from home.

Cheers,
Diane