Last month I posted that after the success of our November school visit and drop off school supplies, we decided that we would do another school visit. Knowing that our replacements would be arriving before the end of month, we decided that 20th of January would be our next planned school visit. That date we figured would give our friends and families plenty of time to send items, and still leave us enough time to prepare for the arrival of our replacements.
What we didn't expect though was all of the schools in Northern Afghanistan shutting down for the winter. About Christmas time we discovered that all of the schools are closed. One of the main reasons we have heard is simply because of heating. The school we had done our first delivery of school supplies seemed pretty representative of most schools that we drive. If other schools are like it, then there is no heating or air conditioning in the building. Without heating I'm sure it would be very difficult to get children to sit still and learn while they doing all that they can to keep themselves warm.
This was a sad revelation, as we had been looking forward to doing another school visit before left. We have gladly continued to accept school supplies from families as they send them. We have been in contact with the team that will be replacing us, and they are very excited about the continuing what we have started. So will pass off the several boxes of supplies that we have collected already, and hopefully they will start informing their friends and families.
We are looking into the possibility of doing a mini-toy drive. Amongst the many boxes of school supplies, we have gotten just about as many boxes of kids' toys. Everywhere we go; there never is a shortage of kids running around. We could fill up our trucks with all of the toys we've collected, pull over to the side of road and start handing the goodies out. Within 20 or 30 or minutes we could easily have everything distributed, for the amount of kids that always seem to come out of the woodwork. One of our team members has heard about an orphanage not too far from the base, so that might have a very good possibility.
For all those who have read my blog and donated school supplies, I will take this opportunity to apologize that my team will not be able to distribute the gifts like we had originally planned. However I will assure though that gifts that you have sent will not be wasted or thrown out. In a few short months, winter will be over and the kids will be back in session. Our replacements, as soon as they get some free time, I am confident will work to distribute everything that we have collected. Assuming that they share the pictures, I will post some of those pictures on my blog.
Thanks again for everyone who has supported to me and my fellow soldiers during our deployment.