Thursday, January 25, 2007

Shoes!! Are you willing to help?

Well another MedCap this week and so far our biggest one seeing over 700 patients. It was probably one of the smoother ones and for the first time we used a dentist who pulled several teeth and handed out toothpaste and toothbrushes for the kids. Thinking back now I didn’t take one picture of the dentist working on his patients... I will be in trouble when Maj. Roper figures that out but maybe he will forget to look at the pics. I did however hand out some toys that were sent to me by Diane Henryson from Pennsylvania. You can see the picture of the baby with one of the toys. When I gave the baby the toy she smiled at me and kept reaching for me even though I was a stranger dressed up like a “storm trooper” she still wanted me to hold her, but I don’t think the mother dressed in her blue Burka was as willing as the baby was. All and all it was a good day Ricky brought us some potato bread, it’s like pita bread with leek and potatoes inside the bread and then deep fried. Afghan food is amazing and I don’t think I’ve found a food over here that I haven’t liked. Ricky always takes care of me and brings in food or something for me to try. He’s a great guy and I’m glad I have someone like that over here that I can get along with besides all the guys here with us.

Back to yesterday!! I was handing out several pairs of shoes that my wife sent me. Bayleigh was highly disappointed to see other kids with her shoes from 2 years ago but she will one day realize that it was a good thing. I just can’t stand seeing these kids without shoes and without something on their head when its 10 degrees outside. I was standing beside the pharmacy and watching the kids follow right along side their mother or their brothers and sisters. Looking at some of the 7 year old girls carrying their year old brother on their back walking through the snow and mud like it’s a paved road. I looked down at one maybe 6 year old girl and saw her shoes with a split down the back because she outgrew them and instead of buying a new pair they just cut the back out of them so she can continue to wear them. Ricky told me a pair of the sandals cost around .50 cents and a pair of rain boots are just a little over a $1.00..

So here is my proposition!! After many questions on what you can do so here is answer to all those questions. I know some people will be a little leery of this idea or just think its ridiculous but I want to do this for these kids and try to make as much of a difference as I can while I’m here. I’m giving Ricky $100.00 to buy 100 pairs of rain boots, different sizes and colors. Here is what I want you to do if you can and if you will. If you will send me a check money order or whatever to my address over here in Afghanistan and we will put it into our Afghan Children’s Fund for Shoes. It can be $1.00 or $20.00 or whatever you want I just want to see what we can do. People have already sent me clothes, school supplies, and a few pairs of shoes so I want to see if we can get some money into this poor country and get some shoes on these kids’ feet. I will make sure you get a receipt for tax purposes or just for proof, that’s what your money is being used for. I’m not begging or asking for hand outs for people who don’t need it but these people do need it. I wish I could let you see first hand, live and in color just what I see every time I go outside. I can just show you with pictures what I see and what we do and how tough it is to see this everyday. I mean the mortality rate is one of the highest in the world considering this is the 3rd poorest country in the World. So if I can keep a hundred kids feet dry during the winter with $100.00 than maybe I can keep half of them from losing toes or even their feet from frostbite than maybe I’ve done some good. I’m just asking for a little help from the people who read this and haven’t helped out already. I just want to make a change for as many kids as I can, and hopefully some of you feel the same out there as I do...

.50 cents = 1 pair of sandals
$1.00 = 1 pair of rain boots

Michael T. Larkin
Camp Phoenix, AF
APO, AE 09320

Make Checks Payable to:
The Afghan Children’s Fund

Or you can just send clothes and shoes you dont use anymore!!

Thanks for your help and please remember you don’t only help out these kids but you are also helping save soldiers lives.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Before and After... My 2nd Blog for the day..

Just wanted to post these pictures I found today. This is just the destruction that was caused by all of the fighting and war. This first picture was taken back in the late 60's and is of the Kings Tomb here in Kabul.

And now 40+ years and several wars later this is what stands of the Tomb. Pretty shocking isn't it.. This was once a beautiful place. I found a lot of pictures from the 60's and will post more tomorrow. Seeing these changes first hand is like day and night, I couldn't believe how much this country has changed..

Scared of your own country?

Today I helped the "S1" interview the 2 heroes from the bombing. We started with the "security guard" at the front gate. We asked him basic questions about his family and his life growing up. We learned a few thing about him that we didn’t already know or things that we weren’t too sure about, rumors we’ve heard. Well a lot of the rumors were true, he lost his wife to Taliban fighting and he loves the U.S. more than Uncle Sam himself. This guy loves his job and appreciates the U.S. Army and Soldiers more and more everyday and would do just about anything for any of us including risking his own life.

For years he drove a truck for a Soviet Trucking company and then took over as a security guard until we came in and he started working for us for free, just volunteer work and then finally we found a way to pay him and he has been here ever since. He is a great down to earth guy and I would be willing to do anything for him because we all now know he would do it for us.

As far as the Interp who saved all the lives right along with the other I would do the same for him.. When we interviewed him he was a mess, worried to death about his family’s safety and about his own. This guy is not sleeping and worried sick enough to keep himself confined to camp and not leaving until he is reassured he is safe. It’s a shame that you’re to scared to be out and about in your own country. Could you imagine confining yourself in your own little safe haven? Not getting out being too scared to step outside because of the possibility of someone hurting you. This is an honest shame and I hope all of these people that have tormented or hurt all these innocent people for year will get what’s coming to them and feel the pain that all of these other people have faced for years.

We have to escort Interps around the camp so starting tomorrow I’m gonna take this guy to breakfast and hopefully help him out with whatever he needs. I guess it’s like a form of PTSD for this guy along with the fear of the Taliban. I can’t blame him I mean the guy was a wire away from dying and now he has to live with all of that. He’s a hero and he’s scared of the title. We are also going to try and get him a Muslim Counselor or some form of Psychologist. I just can’t imagine what’s going through his head nor could I imagine what it’s like living in fear everyday. Even as soldiers we don’t fear everyday for our lives. We know it’s out there and we know something could happen at every turn of a corner. We just stick that stuff in the back of our heads and think about the good things that will keep us safe and alive, the good things we will all be back to in a few months.

On another note: I had another article published in the Oklahoma Frontline.. Its in "some of my favorite links" section on the right hand side of this page. Check it out and let me know what you think if you want to email me just use ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Some excitement and some cold.

Well I guess a few of you know about the excitement we had a couple days ago. It was all over the news so I’m sure if you know me you know what happened but for those of you who don’t know or just don’t know the full story here goes. This is my news release for KXII 12..

Around 9:00 am local time (10:30pm ET Monday) a terrorist attack was thwarted by two Afghan Nationals. A suspected Taliban tried ramming the front gate of Camp Phoenix, in the Afghan Capital. The driver attempted to detonate the car bomb but was grabbed by a citizen security guard also assisted by an interpreter who works with the Oklahoma soldiers everyday. After the suspect was pulled from the vehicle the soldiers evacuated the area and called EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) and moved civilians out of the area.

After several hours of the EOD trying to determine how much explosives were actually in the vehicle. Finally the vehicle was detonated and caused several thousand dollars worth of damage but thanks to the quick thinking of two Afghan Citizens several American lives were saved along with possibly hundreds of injuries. The two Afghans are already being regarded as camp heroes and the process has already started to award them for their heroic acts.

I’ve told most of you about the civilian we have at the front gate who has been here for years and lost most of his family to the Taliban. He is a true hero and risked his own life to save people he doesn’t even know all that well. A lot of people think he shouldn’t be working the gate or that he shouldn’t even be on Phoenix but I think this will show people just how much he wants us here and just what he’s willing to do to keep us here. I personally thanked him and I’m sure if our families had the chance they would welcome him into our homes with open arms. You just don’t hear of Afghans or Iraqi’s (besides their own Army) trying to risk their lives for American’s. Well now a lot of people know that there are Afghans that want us here and know that we are here for a good cause.

So everyone is safe a little shook up but we are all good and getting back to normal for now and hoping this isn’t a sign of things to come.

(On to other things)

Last week was our first BIG HA drop with us the Air Force and a group from Camp Blackhorse. We had a trailer full of clothes and shoes and boxes from Marianne and the guys in PA. We had an ok time a little hectic but we did good and handed out a lot of stuff. There were tons of kids with sandals and shoes with no socks, which was one of the toughest things out there the 2 foot snow and then kids Bayleighs age walking around with sandals.
There was one little boy very timed, cold no jacket or sweater and wearing a pair of shoes about 3 sizes too big and no socks. I pulled him over too the side and found sweater, a jacket (a little too big but he will grow) and fixed him up with some shoes and socks and pockets full of candy and sent him off. He just kept looking at me scared but glad to be warm. I could take all the adult clothes and trade them in for kids clothes because those are the ones who need it so bad. These kids are freezing and there is not a lot that we can do about it but try and have these HA drops as much as we can and warm up every little kid out there. I know we can’t warm up every kid in Afghanistan but seeing this stuff first hand makes you want to do anything and everything you can to help them out. I couldn’t imagine Bay running around without a jacket gloves when its freezing, seeing some of these kids honestly makes you want to give them the coat off your back.

We are planning to have a few more before the winter is over so if you guys want to send anything from a few pairs of gloves, a pair of rain boots to those boxes of kids clothes you have had stored in the garage for year. Send us whatever and just ask Marianne she knows the stuff is going to a great cause and to people who really need it. Here is my address again if anyone wants to send anything for these kids.

Michael Larkin
Camp Phoenix, AF
APO, AE 09320

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just an Update.

Well a few months left, you have no idea how great its starting to feel that we are on the down hill slope. We made it through the Holidays, it wasn't as bad as what I expected I mainly missed Bayleigh opening her presents and just my family the most I could care less about getting any presents this year I just wanted to see all of them.. All I know is next year we all better get every Holiday off from our Civilian jobs or I will be highly upset. Its one thing to work on Thanksgiving and be able to go home that night or even be home for the lunch and its another to not even be there at all.. We all take advantage of stuff and when we don't get everything were used to at home we notice it and it opens a lot of eyes. So everyone else can work for all of us when we get home just let us have our time..

Well things haven't been all that busy around here (notice the lack of BLOGs) I guess I could just start putting my everyday thoughts and experiences on here so you can atleast have something to read, God knows you all are tired of reading about politics and the war and everything else in the country.

We have done a few MEDCAPs and working on a few HA drops (humanitarian Assistance) we have been over whelmed with boxes from people willing to donate clothes and jackets for the cold winter months over here. Thanks to Chaplain Werner and his wife and mother along with a few other people from Pennsylvania, Dean Beebe, Scott and Karen Myers we have received numerous boxes from PA full of clothing items. Also in Oklahoma a wonderful lady by the name of Marianne Bacharach has been sending tons of clothing and winter items many of which were her kids when they were younger. She also started a BLOG on blogger she is a wonderful person and this just shows you we have wonderful people put there who still do great things and are willing to help out anyone they can.. Also I received a few boxes thanks to "Mac" from the Indianola Baptist Church, they were filled with suckers and candy, Ill be honest I had a few of the suckers, but who can turn down a dum dum? We made sure what we didn't eat was handed out to kids here in Kabul at the Aziz School and at our last MEDCAP so thank you for the candy!!! I want to thank all of you for sending out all this stuff you guys are amazing and I can't thank you enough.

Well I guess I will wrap this up thanks again for everything and Ill see if I can keep things going a little more on here so I don't have to get gripped at by a certain person..!!!