Last in country radio conversation

Rex with his MRAP on a mission in Afghanistan.

From Liisa, SMSgt Temple’s wife: Rex is on his way home; he’s made it to Ali Asaleem, Kuwait. Before leaving his camp in Afghanistan Rex did one last “in country” interview with WUSF Radio’s Bobbie O’Brien about his deployment year, which aired last night in Tampa during NPR’s “All Things Considered” and again this morning during “Morning Edition.” You can hear the chat by clicking on this link

4-15 MLT Rex Heads Home

or if you’d like to read the entire transcript, it’s available here.

Radio chat for this week

From Liisa, SMSgt Temple’s wife: Rex has departed his camp and is on his long journey home. Before he left he had a chance to chat with WUSF Radio’s Bobbie O’Brien. They talked about Rex’s recent visit with two female Afghan National Army officers. You can download that chat by click on this link  4-12 MLT women ANA or if you would like to read the entire transcript, you can see it here.

This week’s radio interview

Reporter & Producer Bobbie O'Brien

Here is a link to this week’s chat with WUSF reporter Bobbie O’Brien. We talked about the latest school supplies delivery mission, the preparations for it and how the children reacted. To hear the story, click here.

Anchor, producer and editor Joshua Stewart

Also congratulations are in order for Bobbie and her editor Joshua Stewart; the pair has won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for their work on this radio series. Now their entry moves into the national finals. If you would like to listen to the winning entry from WUSF, click here.

WUSF Radio interview for March 30

This week’s conversation with WUSF’s Bobbie O’Brien covered our mission to a girls school to drop off donated school supplies and President Obama’s visit to Afghanistan. The story aired Monday during NPR’s “All Things Considered” and will run again this morning in the Tampa Bay area during “Morning Edition.” Or you can click on a link to the audio and the transcript here.

Licked By A Lamb

Baby lamb licks my face.

From Liisa, SMSgt Temple’s wife: Due to slow Internet connectivity, Rex is unable to send his blog entry for today.  But he managed to send one picture and the first two lines of the entry:

Over the past year, I have taken many photographs of sheep in Afghanistan.  I never got very close to them.  But on today’s mission, not only did I get close, but a baby lamb got quite “intimate” with me.  Check back tomorrow (connectivity permitting) when the rest of the mission entry is posted.

(Liisa again: Rex did manage to talk to WUSF Radio’s Bobbie O’Brien for their weekly chat – if you live in the Tampa Bay area, you can catch that chat today on 89.7 FM between 5 and 6 pm or around 7:30 am tomorrow morning during NPR’s Morning Edition. Or you can listen here.)

This week’s radio chat

Here is this week’s radio interview with WUSF’s Bobbie O’Brien; we talked about a literacy program and a new library our team is providing to the Afghan National Army soldiers to help fight the estimated 80% illiteracy rate among the new recruits. This piece aired yesterday during the station’s afternoon fundraising drive and it will air again this morning around 7:30 am during National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.” Click here to download: 3-16 MLT libraries-literacy-signs

Or if you want to read the transcript, it’s located here.

The Mutilated Face

HERAT, AFGHANISTAN - Nazgul, 35, a self-immolation victim sits on her hospital bed covered by her headscarf at the Herat Regional hospital November 17, 2006 in Herat, Afghanistan. The medical staff at the Herat hospital says that they have registered around 700 self-immolations cases so far this year. Hospital officials say they lack proper salaries for the nurses and doctors and suffer from a lack of medical supplies. A new burn center for the crowded hospital that was suppose to be finished in 2005 is still under construction. Afghan women are in a subordinate position in the society, where conservative Islamic laws and traditions dictate what a woman is allowed to do in a male dominated world. Forced marriages, domestic violence, poverty and lack of access to education are said to be some of the main reasons for the suicides. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

From Liisa, SMSgt Temple’s wife: Rex is still out on his mission and I’m using the space to publish some very graphic reminders of why education is so vital especially for women and young girls in Afghanistan. Many of you may have seen a report on ABC News this week about a young Afghan woman whose husband cut off her nose and ears. She was nursed back to health by U.S. military personnel and if you can stomach the gruesome images, the video story from ABC News is a thought provoking piece – you can see it here.

This story was first reported in the Western press last December by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon for The Daily Beast Blog. Here is a short excerpt:

“U.S. Air Force Major Dr. Jeff Lewis still remembers the stifling August afternoon when Nadia reached his surgical team near southern Afghanistan’s Tarin Kowt, a town long known as a Taliban stronghold.

The young woman, whose name has been changed to protect her security, had been brought to the coalition’s Forward Operating Base Ripley by her father, who hoped the base’s medical clinic could help his teenage daughter, who he said was around 17 or 18 years old.

She was missing most of her nose and both ears.”

“I have never seen anyone do something like this before to another person,” said U.S. Air Force Major Dr. Jeff Lewis.

(read more here)


But the woman at the center of these two reports is clearly not alone. Much earlier in 2007, Abudlhadi Hairan filed this article for GroundReport .

Husband cut off wife’s ears, nose on Eid day

Qalat: A man named Mumtaz in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan first shaved wife, Nazia’s head and then cut off her ears, and nose and damaged her teeth on the first day of Eid ul Adha, an Islamic ritual of sacrifice.

Hospital sources in Qalat, center of Zabul, told this scribe by phone that Nazia, 17, was admitted on Wednesday (First day of Eid) evening and now she was in a critical condition due to the severe beating she has borne. (more text + photos here)


Chelsie Vandeveer dropping off donations at WUSF Studios on March 12, 2010.

If you read through these amazing stories of women helping women, you will be inspired. And here is the latest woman who is a true source of inspiration for me. Her name is Chelsie Vandaveer and she dropped off all these school supplies yesterday at WUSF Radio and TV for Rex’s school supplies drive for Afghan children. Chelsie and her husband along with her coworkers Gracie Sharp, Sari Kondis, Dot Miner, Katie Plein, Mark Seibel, Allen Shuey, and Paco and Allison Amram at Environmental Consulting & Technology in Tampa collected all these hundreds of donated items since last September after Chelsie heard about the drive in one of Bobbie O’Brien’s My Last Tour news reports.

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