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Point of Pride

PRT Herat | Day 29 - Afghanistan is such a huge topic across the world, it's easy to forget the individual stories here. So many people are grouped together and called Romanians, Croatians, Dutch or Americans, I tend to forget sometimes there are individual people here with their own individual stories and beliefs.

Nazifa's story was particularly touching. To me, these stories highlight not only the caring nature of humanity, but the caring nature of nations. Visa processes are very difficult, I know because I'm trying to navigate the maze right now with my wife. So for a nation like Italy to allow Nazifa in for the medical treatment symbolizes something greater, something I believe hearkens to the soul of nations.

Somehow during my thoughts, I remembered talking with the Lithuanians at PRT Chagcharan. They told me how they asked their country to knit 500 caps for them to hand out to Afghan children during the winter. They were very proud to say their country not only knit 500,

but knit 5,000 caps. I remembered how proud they were to serve in Afghanistan and help bring peace to a country with a population eight times larger than their own.

Lithuania claimed its own independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and in a few years had a full army and were fighting for freedom in Kosovo. Lithuanians are conscripted into the Army, but they volunteer to serve in Afghanistan. I was told there's a long waiting list. It's a point of pride for their country to serve here, to help a fellow nation that has been so hurt by war

I wonder how many countries are proud of the fact their countries are in Afghanistan? War has seemed to become such a political hot topic in decades past they seem to have forgotten what they're doing in Afghanistan is genuinely good.

Are nations so heavily embroiled in politic, that what good happens here is forgotten? The Nazifa's, the schools being built, the progress, are they all overshadowed by the death, destruction, insecurity and violence? To me, I hope nations will hold onto these stories tightly as they hear of the deaths of their young men and women.

Today, we followed the Italian PRT as they attended a Women's Day Celebration in Herat. Never have I been surrounded by so many Afghan women. A lot had their faces unveiled and they were smiling and laughing. Have nations forgotten about their lives and the cultural richness they bring to the world?

I remember the Italian captain in Ken's vlog saying all humans are equal. No human is worth more than the next regardless of country, education level or social status. Have nations forgotten the peaceful people of Afghanistan? Are the pools of national will running so dry due to the onslaught of sensationalized news, we as a world forget the sacrifices made are for a great good?

I worried before 30 days ever started about how I would tell the Afghan story fairly and unbiased. I've felt that since most of what I write is about good, that I will lose credibility as an unbiased source of information, until I think back over our experiences and realize that we have covered this conflict accurately. This place is 90 percent hope and 10 percent horror.

I want to ask all of you a simple question, do you feel your nation is proud of their contributions in Afghanistan?

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