My dad's wife (I hate to refer her to my step mom...she's so wonderful and that word always has such a negative connotation to me) has a son serving in the US Air Force over in Afghanistan right now...he sent her this email and she passed it on to me. (I asked if it was okay to post it here on my blog, I did delete names for privacy)
If or when your grandchildren ever feel bored or sad because there
is something in our vast collection of "stuff" in this country that
they want and don't have, you can tell them how these children in
Afghanistan spend their days.
M wrote: "The kids around the base no kidding have nothing. They sit out in the fields and watch their cows/sheep to ensure the animals don't wander into the adjacent mine fields(no kidding). If a few stray away, the kids have to go get them even if they are in the minefields - unbelievable. Anyway, if you send something made of light wool/cloth, it will get filthy in a week. If you send something too nice, the family will take it away and attempt to sell it. There are 3 little girls(about 5-7) who work the fields across from my office. So, durable and cheap is the name of the game. Same goes for the soccer balls - too nice and the elders will take it away. I was going to buy one here in the BX but it's leather and they'd kill the kid for it. Another field adjacent to the field with the 3 girls is one boy who's about 9-10. He sits out there ALL DAY by himself watching these friggin' goats. Ages are tough to gage here as the kids are often malnourished and small for their age."