Love, No War

The weather has created some messy conditions here.

The weather here has been see-sawing back and forth for the past two days.  At night we get pelted with small snow flurries which turn into rain the next morning.  Then later in the afternoon, the temperature changes again and the precipitation forms large feathery snowflakes before repeating the night cycle.  This

Brand new ANA Ford Rangers.

see-sawing of precipitation has created slush and a muck dirt mixture on the dirt roads we travel.  Considering this is the same mud they make their bricks and cement mixture to build their walls out of, it’s important to scrape it off of your combat boots before it dries.   The other day my interpreter and I tried to take a short cut between buildings

"Love, No War" painted on an Afghan truck.

and found our boots quickly sank into the muck and then attached itself like glue.  By the time we had reached the asphalt road, our shoes had expanded by double in size and in weight.  What a mess!

In the pictures are a new fleet of ANA pickup trucks, 7-tons, and up-armored Humvees, compliments of our US taxpayer dollars.  As the

More donated school supplies and Beanie Babies arrive at the camp.

size of the ANA forces expands, so does their requirement to have more vehicles to transport the troops and logistics.  While outside the camp today, I spotted a truck that caught my attention.  Judging by the words and symbols painted on his truck, I may have found an Afghan “tree hugger” … lol.  I think it should have said “Love not War” or perhaps it was restating the popular Vietnam 1960’s anti-war slogan “Make Love not War” might have been the intended phrase.  But his variant of this expression “Love, No War” was noteworthy and was deserving of a photo to be added to my archive of unique Afghan truck photos.

Students at Oak Grove Middle School packing party. Thank you for the AWESOME job!

Amidst the snow flurries, I transported another 20+ boxes of school supplies and Beanie Babies to my storage conex.  The conex is bursting at the seams and needs to be reorganized so I can accommodate more boxes.  Thanks again to everyone for all of their generous donations.  The schools will reopen in March and I will be able to distribute all the

Rick Grant (left) and Benjamin Smet of Oak Grove Middle School in Cleawater, FL trucking some of the donated supplies at the packing party.

donations and make some children very happy.  Liisa recently visited Oak Grove Middle School in Clearwater, FL and collected another carload of donated school supplies.  Two former military personnel, Benjamin Smet and Rick Grant, who are now teachers spearheaded the drive and their enthusiasm was passed onto their students who took up the cause and filled boxes with donated school supplies.  I also had a chance to communicate with them via Skype and thank them for their energetic spirit in supporting this humanitarian cause.  But what really moved me were the powerful words composed in a poem by an 8th grade female student. Thank you again, Ana Benz, for this poem.  Ana has given me permission to share it with my readers.

The Afghan Student

Words of the adults engraved in my head.

I stare and think while laying in bed.

These thoughts running through me of what he said.

“Boy, you’re the future.”

Kids are always slacking away.

Forgetting homework, letting their brains decay.

But I’m here in a different situation.

Across the world in blazing heat, a fiery sensation.

My people struggle with a war to be fought.

And only one thing is sought.


The kids and myself all want to learn.

To be educated and not watch my village burn.

People are fighting to help us be free.

But we want to help, hear our plea.

Echoing sounds of not one, not two, but hundreds of kids.

Their voices can’t be contained, not even with lids.

They want to learn, but their supplies are low.

If you do help, slowly, but surely, it will show.

The small pen or pencil you lost.

Or the barely used paper you tossed.

You take it for granted, that small little tool.

That little thing can provide the fuel,

To start a spark that will start a fire.

A fire of education. A fire that we require.

With a pen at a time.

We can all climb.

Climb that ladder that leads to freedom.

The freedom, we desire.

Hear our pleas and help us.

One lost pen is another’s sword.

By:  Ana Benz, 8th grade student, Oak Grove Middle School

Ana Benz, 8th grader, interviewed by WUSF Radio's Bobbie O'Brien for a news story that will run on 89.7 FM.


5 Responses

  1. […] more here: Love, No War « Afghanistan My Last Tour Share and […]

  2. […] link: Love, No War « Afghanistan My Last Tour Share and […]

  3. well Rex if any thing comes out of this conflict,we can hope the kids prevail,from your program.

  4. I’m Chelsea, one of the students from Oak Grove Middle School. I would just like to let you know, I really enjoyed helping you collect these supplies for the Afghan School Drive. And Helping pack them for shipping. I would like to thank you for serving for our country, & the children in theirs. I’m looking forward to meeting you in May, if you decide to come visit us.

  5. It’s Ana here (oh wow that’s my poem). Like Chelsea said I loved helping the kids out there in Afghanistan. I hope they will learn and fight back. We’re all here rooting for them, and the brave soldiers helping.

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