Sunday, August 17, 2008

long overdue

sorry, i meant to update again yesterday before bed with the happenings but wasn't really feeling like being tied to the computer last night. i apologize in advanced for the length of this entry!!!

well, i was supposed to go to I. Community yesterday but didn't end up getting to go because there were no other females on the staff available to escort me. according to islam/afghan culture, it would not have been proper for 1 woman to travel alone with a group of men. needless to say, i was pretty bummed that i missed out because i was excited but it was a good opportunity for me to see the B.A. Community Committee Training instead. it is truly amazing to see how the elders of the community want so badly to help themselves and their village. they were so involved and interacted well with jody and our other trainers. they thought of ideas, like chicken farming, and such, that our western minds hadn't even considered for them. everyone has gotten the impression that they really understand that we aren't just here for relief work, but want to help them help themselves develop the community into what they want it to be so that one day we can back out. i love that this trip is really pulling together so many pieces for me about our work and it is so encouraging to see what we talk so much about playing out in real life!!

after the Committee Training (and an afternoon nap, of course), we went to the most amazing restaraunt - Lai Tai. i had the best tai food that i've ever had! it was fun to get out and really see the city because until then, i was mostly sequestered to the guesthouse. when i spoke with ryan on skype, he asked me if i felt safe here or if i had been scared at all. my answer was that i feel completely safe here, UNTIL...i get in the car! the driving here is the craziest, i repeat, craziest thing that i've ever seen! they don't drive on any specific side of the road and honk at each other constantly. it's really funny to watch but i find myself constantly pressing on my invisible break :) after dinner, we came back to the guesthouse and caught up on a little bit of the olympics. i really enjoyed watching them before i left so this was a treat!

however, today was by far my favorite day of the trip yet! after breakfast, we loaded up in the suvs and head out to B.A.!!! i have been imagining visiting this place in my mind and what it would really look like for so long. i have heard stories, seen pictures and prayed for this community many times. the ride out there was fun as we had all our staff team in one car so we could pray, chat and catch up about the specifics of the projects. because tomorrow is a national holiday, security was very tight on our drive out. B.A. is about an hour or so drive from kabul so we were stopped many times by the newly trained afghan police forces, which was actually nice to see. after getting around many traffic jams,wrong turns, and road blocks, we finally drove up on the desert community. i was impressed by the size of the community - around 2,000 acres of land, which was much bigger than i had in my mind. we first met with the MORR (Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation) and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) about the water system that we have begun to put in place.

(new B.A. clinic - under construction)

**quick sidebar -- B.A. Community is the community that we are working with that consists of around 3000 refugees. these people were relocated by the afghan government to a plot of land in the desert with absolutely no resources - including water, food or jobs. our organization has been working with them for several years trying to provide relief with an eye towards full development. we have dug a deep well that will eventually provide water to all the community, and are in the process of finishing the first official school and clinic for the community.**

ok, now where was i...after visiting the well and the future resevoir, we got to go into the community and interact with some of the people, including the children (which is my favorite part of course!!). the kids were so cute but very mischevious. they wanted picture after picture taken of themselves and were hungry for any attention anyone would give them. some of the children followed us everywhere we went - the well, the resevoir, the clinic and the school, even though we drove from place to place. the boys played very roughly with each other, wrestling on piles on gravel and such, just to gain a second look from us. at one point, we were in front of the clinic and heard lots of splashing. we walked towards the back of the building only to see several of the boys belly flopping into the pool of water used for the construction of the clinic. it was quite a sight to see the boys swimming in the middle of the desert, in a place where they could absolutely not have survived without the precious gift of water.

we wrapped up the afternoon and headed back to the guesthouse for lunch and another nap! after hanging around the house and dinner, we got the opportunity to go to Camp Eggers, the Coalition Forces base here in kabul for their sunday evening worship service. it was nice to walk onto the base, show my U.S. passport and shed my chadar (head covering) for a few hours. the preacher shared a great message on evangelism and it seemed like many of the troops were encouraged by the message and the worship time. after the service, we went to the "green bean" which is a coffee shop on the base for a little bit of fellowship. as we left, our escort told us that everyone on the base is on particularly high alert tonight and was instructed to have their armored gear with them throughout the night. tomorrow is one of the afghan independence days so they are preparing for any efforts by the enemy to rain on the parade of the afghan people by conducting attacks. because of the security risks while traveling around the city, tomorrow we will stay at the guesthouse all day for our safety.

please be in prayer that our armed forces and the afghan police would be safe throughout tonight and tomorrow. please pray that the efforts of the enemy would fail and that the afghans will be able to enjoy their holiday in peace. also, please pray that by the whole team spending the day at the guesthouse tomorrow that we will be able to minister to our afghan staff and encourage them in some way.

well, it's nearly 10:30 p.m. here now, so i'm off to bed. good night and thanks always for your prayers!


Anonymous said...

We are praying for you continually and for all the people there. We love you honey and are so proud of your following your calling! Be safe and we love you!


Anonymous said...

update the blog again! it's tuesday:) hope you are having a safe trip!