Soldiers brave Afghan gauntlet to help orphans.

I came across this article on DND's website, I thought I'd share with the "Few posters" on this forum who respect our Military and the good they do. When my husband served in Bosnia I often sent shoe boxs full of stuff for children. Way to go troops.

Soldiers brave Afghan gauntlet to help orphans

Updated Sat. Oct. 28 2006 11:31 PM ET
Canadian Press
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Unloading stacks of candy, stuffed animals and notebooks for smiling kids was the simple part for Canadian soldiers here Thursday.
Making it to the orphanage near Kandahar city was no easy ride.
Gunners with their heads and shoulders out the turrets of armoured G-wagons repeatedly fired their C-6 machine-guns in warning and swatted the air to order drivers and pedestrians off the road.
Just navigating the paved highways and winding back streets in this town is a hair-raising gamble.
Suicide bombers regularly launch themselves into military convoys.
Troops must also dodge an increasingly deadly array of roadside explosives - sometimes two or three anti-tank mines stacked for maximum devastation.
Soldiers with the provincial reconstruction team accept the risks and have averted them well. Some Afghans, most of them children, wave at the Canadians as they rumble through a city that's notoriously dangerous. Most local men just stare.
On this day, the soldiers arrive safely at Shahid Abdul Ahad Karzai Orphanage. And they've brought presents.
Brothers Taj, Sultan and Fida Mohamad aged seven, nine and 11, help as the burly men from half a world away unload. For them, the surprise delivery is like a second Eid ul-Fitr, the most holy Muslim celebration of feasting and gift-giving that ends the Ramadan month of fasting.
Eid was celebrated Monday but parties continue all week, much like the stretch between Christmas and New Year's Day in the West.
Most of the orphanage kids are away visiting relatives who can't care for them full time. The Mohamad brothers had just returned from a visit with their father, Raz.
He lost his wife six years ago to a sudden illness. He walks with a cane, one of his legs slightly dragging behind him, and has not been able to work for years, he says. His clothes are worn and dirty, but he speaks through a translator with pride about what an education might do for his children.
The walled orphanage with heavy metal gates gives his boys a place to sleep, eat and go to school.
"They're all right," Raz says with a grin when asked about the presence of foreign troops in his homeland. "They're here to build the country and security."
About 60 boys and girls aged six to 16 live at the orphanage, and another 420 attend class in small rooms with simple wooden desks. There are no electric lights in the dining hall. There's just one washing machine for the whole place. The squatter toilets are filthy with human waste.
Canadian engineers toured parts of the building Thursday to see about hooking up another washer.
They also took down a wish-list from the headmaster, Hekmatullah, who like many Afghans goes by one name only.
New mattresses and uniforms are top requests.
Canadian support "is everything," he said. "This helps the children to feel they're not alone."
For the troops, the visit is a treasured chance to help in a tangible way.
"For me, it's the children who make it all worth it," said Capt. Howard Chafe as two little girls waved to the convoy heading back to the heavily guarded Canadian camp.
Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs are falling

On foreign soil once again,

To be scattered cross the desert

By unforgiving Asian wind.

This dust is barren, unprotected,

Unlike his field of wheat;

The sand is so unlike his Maritimes,

No majestic Rockie peak.

He hears a lonely Piper now,

Black boots marching through the snow,

The warm drape of the Maple Leaf,

Tells him all he has to know.

Four winds have gently cast the Leaf,

To land on home terrain,

Flying freely there, he will declare,

His fall was not in vain.

J.S. McGregor
That was wonderful Boxcar, thankyou.



We can be very proud of them.

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