Thursday, December 01, 2005

Digging a Well

The Summer of 2004 was a dry one in Afghanistan - little did we know or even hope that the drought would be broken that winter. Drought hurt everyone in the area I was stationed, and also ewncouraged people to plant poppy, since that plant did well in a dry season, and the farmers had to do something to sustain their familes.
What we did is a story that has been told before, but I wanted to tell it again, and add a few more pictures.
We has used some of our CERP money to dig a deep irrigation well at the busy provincial border town of Qara Bagh (between Kabul and Parwan provinces).

The well at start-up

We also paid for a pump - and this led to the first of many smiles. You see, I asked if they had anyone who could make sure it was maintained, and could fix any problems. A whole series of smiles and "yes" answers informed me that I had missed something. I was still fairly new to the country, and had not learned that the Afghans are some of God's very own shade tree mechanics. If it is a small engine, they'll keep it running somehow.

The pump

The dedication was the first time I had been present at an Afghan public prayer/benediction.
The mullah was a tough, older, respected fellow who had lost an eye fighting against the Soviets. I am told he was fairly moving in his short message and prayer before the pump was turned on and the water began to flow. I can see why - so much destruction and pain he had lived through, and here was something positive and good for his people.

The mullah is the fellow to the left.

The Afghans were happy about being able to irrigate their fields, and I was pretty happy about it too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story. We need to read more like these. I'm thankful that more and more we are now reading about the progress and good things that are happening in both Afghanistan and Iraq - thanks to milblogs.

9:20 PM  

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