This letter was sent home during my deployment to Afghanistan in 2010:
Last week, I went out on a mission and was able to see three construction projects, two roads and a school. When we inspected the school building, school was still in session so we were able to see the children outside studying in the shade of trees while waiting for the school construction to be complete. It was encouraging to see because it shows that we are building a school for children that are currently going to school outside. (Sometimes there wasn’t a lot of planning in where the schools were placed and were built and then not ever used.)
After we had completed the construction of the school we went back to check on things and it was amazing to see all the children crammed inside the school building. There were so many different children inside the school learning in a building we had built for them. There were some things about the school that were frustrating, the generator wasn’t running because they didn’t have money for fuel and there was minor wear and tear that the Afghans didn’t understand how to maintain and fix. So we left with mixed feelings happy the school was being used, but could see that in a few years it would be an abandoned building unless someone could come and help them maintain and sustain the building that was built.
We also stopped at a village to interact with the local villagers and gather information about what was going on. While we were there I was able to take a picture with some of the local children. The children seemed to like me, they would pose for pictures and be in pictures with me and smile at me, but not the camera. Then, one of the males wanted to be in a picture with the kids, they were not interested and ran away from him. I thought it was interesting that they were not afraid of me since I was a female. I figured with my military gear you couldn’t really tell the difference between males and females in uniform, but it was clearly evident in this experience and others that people knew who I was and that I was a female.
The mission overall was a success and we were able to get a lot of good information.