Monday, January 25, 2010I'd give all wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life's decay,
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer day.
~~~~~Lewis Carroll, "Solitude"
In my quest for those little drops of kindness that will forever change another person's life, I read this story at Christian Science Monitor. If this doesn't create a lump in your throat and more than a touch of pride for what 'Our Guys' are doing while they are residing in a hostile environment, then all I can say is... You should check to see if you still have a heart!
Combat Outpost Penich, Afghanistan
An Afghan laborer at Combat Outpost Penich was carefully maneuvering a forklift when an attack almost caused him to lose control of the vehicle.“Scrappy,” an Afghan orphan who works on the United States Army base, had pinned the forklift driver down with a Super Soaker squirt gun and was blasting him in the face.
Call it both the hazard and the joy of keeping two orphan kids on the payroll, but few soldiers at this remote base in eastern Kunar Province regret having them around.
The orphans, who go by Scrappy and Donovan, are both the base’s unofficial mascots and charity project. They live with their extended family in a nearby refugee camp and spend afternoons after school working on the base. How they ended up here is something of a happy coincidence and the US intersection with Afghan culture.
It’s not uncommon for the Afghan military to hire young boys to do odd jobs around the base. When Attack Company, 1-32 Infantry Battalion moved into the area for the first time, they found Donovan working for the local Afghan Army unit in exchange for meals and foodstuffs for his family.
Donovan’s father had been killed by the Taliban, leaving no one to support his family of four, so as the oldest son, even though he was only 12, Donovan had quit school and begun working. The only job he could find was working with the Afghan soldiers in exchange for the meager provisions.
When the soldiers in Attack Company learned about this arrangement, they invited Donovan to work on the US outpost for the same rate as the adult day laborers. Three months later, Attack Company also hired Scrappy, who came from similar circumstances as Donovan – but with a family of 10 to support. The main condition of their employment is that they attend school every day.
“Our friends think this is good work. They also want to work with the Americans to learn English,” says Donovan, who lives in a camp for internally displaced people most of whom are friendly with US forces.
Though the two are technically employed as laborers, they don’t work for more than 20 or 30 minutes a day, watering plants, picking up trash, or helping with other odd jobs around base. Most of their time is spent having water-gun fights and hanging out with soldiers. They also race bikes, which they were awarded last spring for doing well on their final exams.
“We try to encourage them to have fun, because they are treated like adults – they do have to provide for their families, be contributors, and yet at the same time they’re like 10- or 12-year-old kids,” says Spc. Adam Rowe, the base "mayor," in charge of logistics, who's from Philadelphia....
You won't find this story on any msm front page. *Gasp* but you can find the rest of it here. While you are over there, check out all the other great stuff, which all qualifies as B*N*S*N!