In September I put a post on my blog entitled "How you can help." Regarding how my team and I decided that we would make an effort to support an Afghan school. We put the word out our plan and said we would welcome any sort of support from back home. I have received a lot of packages from friends and families, many of whom I have never met before. It has been truly amazing at the amount of stuff that I and others have collected.
I have been back from leave a little bit more than a week now, before I departed on leave the original plan was that the school visit would occur sometime in October while I was away. I wish I could report at how well our school donation visit has gone. Unfortunately it still has not happened, which truthfully has really frustrated me. We are a small team, and supporting our Afghan soldiers and other mission take priority. I also feel that making this school visit happen does not take as high priority with other members of the team and has gotten pushed back a time or two. I really want to get out there and visit with some kids, take some pictures, and share the good news of how donations of Americans have helped people. I hope that within the next week or two I will be able report that we completed our school visit.
I have received a lot of interest over the last few weeks I have received interest from different groups that are still interested in helping out. Please know that we would be more than happy to receive your donations, and will do everything that we can to hand them out to some need children. When we finally do get out and visit our first group of kids I will be better able to report on what kids may or may not need.
In the "How you can Help" blog I mentioned how we had witnessed a bunch of children carrying small chairs to and from school. This was just something that we just witnessed for that area, and I cannot confirm that is the case with all Afghan schools. Some people have written asking if they could purchase and ship some chairs to us for the children. While very noble, there is no way that, logistically, we would be able to handle such a request. So for those who might be interested in helping out some local children just send typical school supplies.
People have asked what all do the kids here need. Once again I wish we would have completed our first school visit, so that I could give a good report on the real needs of kids here. I have told others that the back to school list that teachers will send home with elementary aged school kids each fall would be a great place to start. Some things to consider, the languages that are spoken here are read from right to left. So when children learn to write they flip over a normal spiral notebook and use it in what would be a reverse fashion for those of us from the left. I know that local stores do not sell notebooks designed for people that write from right to left, but notebooks that flip from the top might be a bit more friendly for those who want to make an extra effort to try and help out. That being said, I'm sure that children and families would appreciate any sort of donation would be greatly appreciated.
Believe it or not in our part of Afghanistan it does get cold at night. I am a little nervous about making the offer for clothes, as we would have no effective way to sort and then properly hand out kids clothes. We might be able to pass out some hats or gloves, as I'm sure those would be appreciated also.
We are planning to do a second school visit in late December or January. So anyone is again free to send school supplies that they think that people from a less advantaged family would appreciate. Those who have questions please feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog, and I will write back.
Again for those who would like to donate please feel free to send any supplies to me at.
CPT Marc Rassler
MN CS OMLT
Camp Mike Spann
APO AE 09368
The flat rate post office boxes work great. Otherwise if you want to send a larger box, just send it Space Available Mail (SAM).
Please do not consider this a giant request for money or supplies, because poor children in Afghanistan are dying. A lot of families are poor here compared to western families, however the families do not know that they are poor unless someone comes up to them and tell them "You are Poor." Living in Afghanistan is the life that they know. I have had several people email me asking "How can I help?" This is the best way that I know how to try and help some local kids out, and hopefully improve their lives. I am really looking forward to sharing some photos and telling a story or two describing our interaction with some of the locals.