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What's Under the Burkah???

One man’s journey to see how a society managed to effectively disenfranchise half its population. This page will document the adventures of a Navy Reservist who mobilized to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Diary Entries

Monday, 18 February 2008

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

Perspectives:

It’s been on my mind a lot recently, how our perspective frames our outlook. Two recent events brought it to the forefront though; the first incident was when Amanda and I went to the neighboring base to have dinner with our friend Chuck. As we were leaving and suiting up in our body armor we commented that we’ll have to do this again in the states when we get back, and maybe we wont have to wear body armor as we leave Chuck’s house. It struck us though that it’s become second nature to us here to wear body armor everywhere we go, and that just seems like it’s something that shouldn’t be “normal”. The second thing was when it warmed up to about 20F a couple of weeks ago. It had been so cold the previous few weeks that we all felt like we should be wearing short sleeved shirts.

So why is this important?

Because the Afghans don’t have the same perspective we do. We come from a background where intelligence, hard work, and perseverance matter. They simply do not. In their world, trust and family matter more than ability because accomplishments matter very little. Consequently, it’s very difficult for a westerner to explain concepts like efficiency to a population that works usually less than an hour in a four or five hour day. It simply doesn’t affect them.

So as I continue to try to help them I have to constantly remember where they are in the world and what they value. Ultimately though, if they are to have western capabilities and lifestyles, which they continually claim they do want, they will be the ones that have to change their values. To do that they need to see how theirs fits, or doesn’t, with the rest of the world. So maybe the best thing I can give them is actually free, a new perspective on how things can be….

My love to all….

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Location: Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

I just wanted to start this journal with a quick entry on Christmas day from here in Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan. Today was very relaxing. I slept in till about 1030, got up, showered and went to work in my PT gear (on “low battle rhythm” days we can wear our PT gear ... and I managed to get away with not shaving…shhh!!!

So then I went into work to say hi to my team mates and go to lunch. Not much else to report, but when we went to dinner later in the day we had the same food again…not too surprising for around here.

So a few of us went down to the “Clamshell” (the MWR tent) to see what was happening for fun tonight, but since nothing much was on we had a hot chocolate by the fire and then called it a night. Not much by the way of fun, but a very safe and peaceful Christmas, and that’s what it’s all about!!

So peace and love to everyone out there!! Take Care and Merry Christmas.


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Recent Messages

From The Troll Who Lives
Once Prince Harry of Wales is out of Afghanistan, you can update your picture gallery to include your pictures of him.
Response: That just might be true...but that wouldn't be nice for the Royal Family now would it...???

From Keith R.
Hey Brian,

Just got done catching up on your site here - thanks for all the pictures and video - tells a much more accurate stoy of what it's really like over ther than what CNN portrays.

As far as the "stache" goes, Personally, I like it - very becoming. Just make sure it stay's compliant with code! i.e. doesn't grow below your lip. Let us know how the shipments of clothing are helping over there.

You're in our prayers - Stay safe.
All the Best,
Keith
Response: Thx Kieth!! I think I'm gonna try to tak the 'stache to Geraldo Rivera size and see what happens!!!

From Angelia
Dude,

Wassup with the mustache? Joe P says
"the Villiage People called and they want their mustache back!"

Miss Ya!
Response: ... the 'stache..yeah, it's justa thing the guys do out here to pass the time. It'll be gone before I get back..no worries.
From silvana
i miss you- were the hell have you been lately! write- call, please.
love
Silvana
Response: Hi there. I just got back from Kandahar. Tried to call you before I left but you were out, I'll call you very soon.

Me
From Bunny Smolinski
Hi, I'm J. Smo's mom, love your journal. Thanks for what you do.Stay warm, keep safe, our prayers are with all of you..
Response: Hi Mrs. Smo! Thx for stopping by. We appreciate all your concern and your prayers.
From Uncle Mike
Thank you for being there for me and the rest of the world.  y neice is Jen from jersey.  Tell he uncle Mike from Vt. prays for all of you.  PEACE & TRANQUILITY
Response: Hi Uncle Mike!! Thanks for stopping by the site and taking a look. I'm very proud to serve my country and it is an honor to earn you appreciation.

You can be very proud of your neice. Jen (aka Jersey Girl) is a great sailor and she'll go far at whatever she does. (Let's hope we can keep her in the Navy) Her efforts here make a big difference in assuring that we all come home in one piece.
From Patrick R
hi
the chargers are playing the patriots in the afc conference championship on saturday

e-mail me
Response: Hi Patrick!! I'm so excited for the Chargers! Let's hope they do well!
From Silvana
Miss you so much! looks like you are having a blast though- call me when you get a chance
Response: Thx, I'm having as much fun as the law will allow... :)

I'll call ya soon!
From monique
i love this! starts off w/ your excellent b-day celebration and just gets "richer" from there! thanks for sharing. you look healthy and happy! this is a great site! think you'd be a good reporter...then you can move on to public speaking. i'll vote for you!
From J.R.
Hope all is still going well! It was great getting your last e-mail newsletter - so keep it up, eh?

Praying for you...
Go Navy! (and Army, Marines, Reserves, Air Force, squids, minnows, shell-fish, and all)

PS: J. says you are neglecting him and his feel-goods are broken.
From Tom
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year bro! Your pictures bring back memories. Lol. Love ya! Tom.
Response: Hopefully only good memories! I'll be home sooner than ya think...believe me!! ttys
From Me
Hello... how is your day? I'm surfing the net at midnight, and thought I would leave a message for you on your page. Since you deleted my first comment... tisk, tisk....
From Crystal
Looks like you’re having a wonderful experience. Your pictures are amazing! Happy belated Birthday …..One more year closer to 25 huh? : P Take Care.
---why would ANYONE ever allow themselves to be over 25? seriously??? Contracting is HORRIBLE out here, you should come help!
From Jeremy
Happy holidays and safe travels as you enhance the lives of the Afghan people. Go Army (HUAH!!!)

JRB
From Ray
Great website bro!. I'll forward this stuff to dad today. Since he still lives in 1987 he will be at my house to use the internet sometime this week. Take care and be safe. Remeber stick close to the Army guys, they know what there doing...lol. Merry Christamas. Ray.
From Justin
Quit checking your page and get back to work!