Our Foundation's proposal to restart the Space Center's after school volunteer program, computer classes, merit badge classes, private missions and camps has been submitted to the Alpine School District Building Rental Committee. I don't know the turn around time for a decision. Any news will be posted here on The Troubadour.
I received an email from Brooklyn Welch, one of America's finest, serving her country in Afghanistan as an army field medic. Brooklyn grew up with the Space Center in her blood; a camper, then a volunteer. Please take a minute and read her thoughts on the life of Afghan children.
Friends and Family,
We've been stationed at a much bigger fob for a while building guard towers. This has allowed us to interact with a lot of the local children on an almost daily basis. They've taught us some pretty valuable lessons through our broken conversations. When they first came up to talk to us, they greeted us with vulgar language and hand gestures ( obviously taught to them by previous us soldiers), and all around hassled us as we went about our day. We, being the mature
soldiers we are, obviously returned those gestures and language, not about to be outdone in insults by an 8 year old Afghan boy. We traded insults for quite a few hours that first day, until finally one of us went up to the kids and just started talking to them like they would a kid back home. Instantly all the kids stopped throwing insults, and instead shouted questions about life in America, or as a soldier. We started making trades with the kids, and having them run to a local
village to get us nan ( handmade Afghan bread), or kabobs. It's been nice to be able to get to know the local population since we've been here, but it sure made us feel pretty stupid for all the insults, when with a few kind words, we made friends instead.
As we've started to get to know each other, I've learned a lot of interesting things about the culture here. The kids that have been talking to us range in age from 3 up to about 13. They spend their days tending to their herd of goats or sheep, and the oldest boy was very proud to tell us that he had saved up to buy himself 2 goats, and is planning to expand his flock as he grows older. We found out that a
goat her costs about ten dollars, so we all pitched in a few dollars so he could buy his 3rd goat. I think my mom would just about worry herself to death before she would let me run off at just 3 or 4 years old to tend to my flock all day, miles from home, but that's just common practice here. We also able to learn about the school system in Afghanistan. Pretty much all the local kids, girls included ( which
made us all proud of the work that's been done here in Afghanistan) attend school for one hour a day. In school they only have one subject, English. Had we not come to Afghanistan, those girls would never have been given the chance to go to any kind of school, but they can now. As I've interacted with the kids, its been pretty obvious though that girls and boys have very set places in society here. At
first the kids wouldn't barter with me at all, and instead told me to go get "the man", but they've warmed up to me since. I did entertain them quite a bit when, although all the boys were shouting " no, girls can't use sling shots," I shot a board they had set up as a target with my newly acquired slingshot.
As we've started to prepare for going home, I've come to realize there are a few things I will miss about this place. The kids, although often with very poor manners, are absolutely adorable. And, there's not a whole lot cuter than a little three year old girl, following a goat around with a stick. I'm also going to miss the nan. I've gotten pretty addicted to it in my time here. American bread just isn't the same without the extra dirt mixed into the bread here lol
Thanks for all the support while I've been here,