18 July 2008
15 July 2008
In the mean time, know that I am here, I am safe and that wearing body armor sucks.
10 July 2008
08 July 2008
07 July 2008
They have to order smaller boots. Till then, I have to wear ones that are too big (as in, I can slip them off when they're laced up). Between the bozo boots and britches that look like MC Hammer pants, I'm going to look like I'm playing dress-up out of daddy's closet.
06 July 2008
05 July 2008
Well, now it really is Saturday and I really do leave tomorrow. I'm no more ready today than I was yesterday. I have a lot to do today.
Once I leave tomorrow, I'll be out of internet access until I arrive and get settled (as far as I know) so there will not be updates for at least a week (unless someone loans me a lap top).
I will have my phone with me so you can call up until Thursday afternoon. Once I get on the plane, the phone goes off. My number will be forwarded to S's phone so you can still call but it will be her who answers.
You can leave me messages here so that when I get there I'll know you've been reading (sometimes I wonder). I'll post as soon as I can to let everyone know everything is okay.
03 July 2008
Mentally I am. But I'm not packed and don't even have everything I need to pack.
I guess I'm counting on stores being open on July 4th so that I can get last minute things.
In other words, everything is SOP here.
29 June 2008
11 June 2008
24 May 2008
I can't touch any babies or people with compromised immune systems. I have to wear long sleeves (so glad summer is arriving) and make sure the dogs don't lick my arm.
1 in 175 people who get the vaccine develop a serious heart condition. Great, now I'm going to be nervous for 30 days and my heart will be racing. Which, coincidentally, is one symptom of this adverse reaction.
The scab that will eventually cover the pus-filled blister can carry the live virus for up to 6 years after it falls off. So basically I have to set up a bio hazard containment center in my separate bathroom for disposal of all bandages and scabs. Fun for the whole family!
All this for a virus that has been eradicated but is still in the possession of the US, Russia and anyone who bought or stole it from one of those two countries. Well, it's a good thing neither the US or Russia has ever sold, leaked or lost anything dangerous to society. Whew!
22 May 2008
What could be more fun than having to clean the shower EVERY time I use it, having to separate our laundry and wash mine in hot water, having to avoid touching anything with my left arm?
And I hope none of you ever have to get vaccinated for anthrax because that shit HURTS! Just in case you were wondering. And lovely of all lovely...there's 6 or 8 shots in the series so I have more to look forward to.
Total count to date: 24 sticks, pricks and pokes. Did I mention I HATE needles?
21 May 2008
20 May 2008
I need to start making a list. Actually, I need a list of the lists I need to make.
- A list of things I need to pack.
- A list of things I need to ship.
- A list of things I still need to buy to either pack or ship.
- A list of things I need to take care of before I leave.
- A list of meals I need to cook and freeze for S so that she eats real food at least once in a while when I'm gone.
- A list of dog and cat supplies that we need to stock up on before I leave.
I'm sure there's more. 7 weeks sounds like a long time. I have a feeling it will be over before I'm finished making my lists!
08 May 2008
If you do the math that means I'll be gone for S's birthday, Thanksgiving, our anniversary, my birthday, Christmas and New Year's.
But, I should be able to take me R&R to come home for L&H's wedding.
So, assuming the Wicked Witch doesn't interfere, I've got 9 weeks to get ready. Fortunately I've already got my paperwork done.
22 April 2008
10 April 2008
Civilians (perhaps just females, the details are unclear) were pulled from the PRTs because the remote areas where they are operating are becoming increasingly unsafe. So even though I was really looking forward to the work (okay, I'll admit it, I was pretty pissed when my tasker was canceled), I'm not unhappy that events unfolded as they did. Things will work out the way they're supposed to. I'm sure of that. And who knows, maybe there was a reason I was supposed to hang out here for a little while longer. You just never know.
I'm still waiting for a new tasker. But now I'm not upset on a minute-by-minute basis that it hasn't come down yet. As always, I will let you know when it does.
28 February 2008
17 February 2008
14 February 2008
09 February 2008
I currently work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). USACE is responsible for the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Civilians can not be forced to deploy, however, they are much needed because our military resources are stretched very thin right now thanks to a certain someone’s policies.
Civilians can volunteer for temporary duty assignments in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. I don’t have to quit my job or anything. I'll just be doing my job in a different location temporarily; I'll still get paid. I’ll go for 6 months, and then return to my job here. While there I’ll be under the protection of the U.S. military.
Here’s a little more information on PRTs:
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs)
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are aimed at promoting the emergence of a strong and credible central government able to extend its influence nation-wide.
PRTs are not intended to function as peacekeeping entities. They are relatively small, inter-disciplinary groups formed to assist local authorities, the national government, nongovernmental organizations, and United Nations agencies, in their efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, reform its security sector and disarm, demobilize and reintegrate its armed members.
While the military component of some PRTs will undertake some engineering work, reconstruction is but one aspect of the PRT mission. Rather than implement change, the PRT’s emphasis is to enable change. By providing security and basic support, PRTs will facilitate the exchange of information amongst various groups, thereby stimulating reconstruction and contributing to the process of normalization. Chain of Command PRTs currently report to the HQ Coalition Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force (CJCMOTF) within HQ Combined Forces Coalition Afghanistan (CFC-A).
Given their relatively small size, the military component of PRTs are intended to provide local security only. Combat operations, should they be required, will be conducted by other forces.
PRTs focus on supporting change to a wide variety of areas, among them education, customs, infrastructure, agriculture, police, the judiciary, and public health. As capabilities improve over time, PRT duties will gradually be transferred to the government or the commercial sector.
You can also check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provincial_Reconstruction_Team
And for info on the overall USACE mission in Afghanistan (a little glossy but some good info): http://www.aed.usace.army.mil/
Since I don’t know what information I’m allowed to share with the world, I’m keeping this generic. My last name will not appear anywhere on this blog. Please don’t identify me in any comments. Once I find out the level of detail I’m allowed to share, I’ll adjust my postings as appropriate and let you know what is okay and what is not.
And I’ll try to answer all your questions, so keep checking back.
29 January 2008
Well, I was selected to be an exchange student and that unleashed a restlessness in me that's never been quieted. I spent my junior year of high school in the Netherlands (Holland). As the year was drawing to a close, another exchange student asked what my future plans were. With my head firmly in the clouds, I declared I was not going to college but instead, joining the Peace Corps.
Okay, how was I supposed to know that the Peace Corps generally only takes college graduates? So I reluctantly went to college and then to graduate school but the whole time still planning to join the Peace Corps. I remember my graduate advisor asking me what I planned to do once I graduated. When I told him he said, "then what are you doing here?" At my interview for the Peace Corps the recruiter looked at my education and said, "what are you doing here?" It made perfect sense to me if to no one else.
So off I went to serve for two years in Ghana, West Africa. To be honest, I had to look at an atlas to find out where it was when I got my assignment. And the first several people I told asked, "Isn't that where Jim Jones poisoned those people with the kool-aid?" For the record, it's not. That was Guyana and that's in South America. But I did once get a letter stamped, "misdirected Guyana." It took a long time to get to me but I bet it saw a lot of interesting places.
There aren't too many places in this world that I don't want to go and I'm always looking for that next adventure. I've seen more places than a lot of people and I've certainly been to places most people don't think to visit. I kinda like it that way. Okay, I've seen Paris and Venice and Amsterdam and those places are nice. But to me, they don't compare to a village in Benin that isn't on the map or climbing temple steps in Cambodia with people who must have been 80 years old.
I think I've found my next adventure and it certainly isn't a place most people would think of going right now. And it's nowhere near Kansas.