Project with Czech Army - Afghanistan
Lt. Lukáš Kubíèek took over from Cpt. Lada Kováøová not only working duties, but he will also continue in the realisation of the common project of the Centipede and Czech Army in Logar. In his diary, he will inform us about the development of the project of getting your help to your friends in Afghanistan.
Part 1 - click here.
Dear Mrs. Bìla,
We are sending our last greetings from Logar. In the name of our whole contingent, allow us to thank you for your support during our whole mission. We appreciate it very much; it has always given the energy to our work. If it is at least a bit possible, we would kindly ask you to thank to all Centipede colleagues and children for your efforts to help the local children. Personally, I am convinced that the money the Centipede has sent, have always been allocated to the people in need. It did not help only to the local children and women. Through the realisation of the Centipede projects the prestige of Czech soldiers and Czech PRT in the view of local authorities and people in general. Our thanks go to the Centipede.
Dear Mrs. Bìla,
once again, thank you very much and see you soon home.
August 17, 2010
Good bye. Dear friends and supporters of the Centipede, all of my colleagues and friends from the CIMIC group of the 5th contingent of the Czech Army in Logar are safely home with their families. I also hope that in a couple of hours I, together with the rest of our contingent, will leave Afghanistan. Allow me to thank for the last time for your support and efforts that were expressed to us via many e-mails during our whole mission. At the same time I would like to express my appreciation for the way you managed to gather so much money that was given to the children in this country torn by war. Please be sure that you made thousands of Logar children students, pupils and teachers happy. Their gratitude and admiration to you all have also expressed all the important Logar authorities. None of this would be possible without a huge job done by all civil and military experts of the 5 contingent of the Czech Army here in Logar. I would like to thank to my wonderful colleagues, namely my deputy Silva and Petra who gathered the documentation to all the projects and organised most of the meetings. Radim, Norbert and Lukáš, who took part in the meetings and contributed greatly to the success of our projects. Pepa and Jakub perfectly promoted our projects in the local media and by this contributed to the higher prestige of our team and work of the PRT with local people. I cannot forget our colleague Petr who (even if he was a direct member of our group) came up with many great ideas and help with organisation of all events. Last but not least our thanks go to the Chief of the 5 contingent Col. of the Chief of Staff Rudolf Honzák. Without his support the projects of cooperation between the Centipede and the Czech Army could never come true. The time has come to hand over “the mace” to my successor Mirek. I wish him from all my heart all the best, wish that his mission would be successful and that they would succeed in everything they planned and mostly that everybody returns home to their families safe. Once again, thank you everybody and hope to see you in future…
August 16, 2010
Second Centipede school in Logar !! As I have informed you already in our previous storied, together with the representatives of the Ministry of Education we selected another school that would be great to equip with the furniture and school material. After a very successful project with the first Centipede school of Hamid Karzai, our position with selecting the second school was a bit easier. All the Ministry officers tried to help us as much as they could. Minister Jafar even appointed his assistant Mr. Shapoor Arab as his representative in the coming Centipede project. We decided also to built a multipurpose sports ground, above providing the equipment of the school itself. We needed to have the confirmation from the central government in Kabul that confirmed the land was in hands of the state and there would not be a problem in future with its ownership. Thanks to Mr. Shapoor, everything went well in a really short time. We requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic to sponsor the construction of the sports ground. Together we managed to make an extraordinary thing. More than 1students have now the opportunity to educate themselves in a much better environment with better textbooks and other stuff. The gym lessons (and not only these) can be done at the sports ground that can be changed from a volleyball ground to a football playground. With this, we accomplished also the projects of the 5 contingent of the Czech Army in Logar as far as small and quick projects concerned. We can hand over to our colleagues of the 6 contingent “clean table” and a huge space for the realisation of their own ideas… unfortunately, the space is still very very large.
August 14, 2010
The pupils in Surchab village have a new volleyball playground!! The school in Surchab village near the dam that supplies water to nearby surroundings was one of the schools that was missing a good playground and the children had no chance to do any sport activities (if we do not count football with the ball made of dirty shirts; the playground reminded more a field of stones than anything else). We have received many requests from many schools during our mission here. As usually, the school most in need was chosen with the help of Minister of Education in Logar, Mr. Jafar. The meetings with Mr. Jafar have always been very pleasant and friendly. Mr. Jafar is one of a few officers who understood that our sources were not endless and he approached our every project in this way. He never requested hundreds of PCs in buildings with no electricity… After we decided about our cooperation, everything was a routine already. The company that was selected proceeded exactly according to our schedule. The quality of the construction was supervised by the commission appointed by Mr. Jafar. Even we could see that the playground was of a very good quality. As a bonus to the school, we added a volleyball playground, football gates, balls and two sets of dresses. Except many thanks we were requested to play a friendly volleyball match. However, we had to refuse this as we did not have time enough. We do believe though that there will be a good opportunity to play this match.
August 12, 2010
Kid’s corners in Logar hospitals were opened for the small patients!! Another important project that could be realised thanks to the Centipede’s generosity was opening of the kid’s corners in three Logar hospitals. The project was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. The main purpose of this project was to ease the waiting time to mothers with children in the hospitals. The initiator of the project was provincial Minister of Education Dr. Alhaj Mohammad Zarif who approached us with his request. During our meeting Mr. Zarif showed us tens of requests of Logar mothers who wished to create a place for their children to play while waiting for the medical check. Dr. Zarif explained that these places exist only in big hospitals in Kabul capital. He said that he was not able to realise the project as he had no money for the salaries of his employees. After a discussion with the experts of the civil part of our PRT we decided to help. The result of more than 2 months efforts was handing over of fully equipped kid’s corners in two hospitals in Pol-e Alam and in the district hospital in Baraki Barak D.C. The directors of these hospitals gave gladly the space in their hospitals to realise the projects. Every room was equipped with a carpet, furniture, fairy tale books, blackboards for painting and many toys. This project was very successful even if the amount of money that was spent was not huge. We were very pleased by the efforts of the employees of the hospital to contribute to the project. They cleaned the rooms, decorated them and put on new curtains. In many cases we see only the will to accept new things, not the will to help with the projects. That is why we are sure that the project of kid’s corners will be successful for sure and will serve to the little patients for a long time.
August 11, 2010
Project of equipping further kids´ sports team concluded!! Today’s afternoon belonged to the festive ones. After almost three months of meetings, visits and discussions over the list of hundreds of sport clubs in Logar province we concluded our plan successfully. It was not easy at all. The limitation was obvious – financial sources and number of children in every sport federation. Together with provincial Minister of Sports, Mr. Stanakzai, former boxer and member of the Olympic team we selected seven federations that fulfilled our criteria. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centipede participated in the project, we wanted to support mainly children. We discussed our idea and the selection of the clubs with the representatives of the Ministry of Education of the province, Mr. Abdul Mateen Jafar who was excited about it. He told us that the project is definitely in the line with his directives for the development of the education in the province. Enabling and improving the conditions for sports to the youth has its importance especially in prevention. “If we succeed to attract local children and youth to sports instead of consuming drugs, it will have a huge impact for the future of all of us,” said Mr. Jafar. The sport clubs that were part of the project in the end were the clubs in the districts Pol-e Alam, Baraki Barak, Khoshi, Mohammad Agha, Azra and Charkh. More than 700 sportsmen from football, chess, cricket, volleyball and boxing federation, 12 handball clubs and 7 athletics clubs were a part of the project. The representatives of every sports federation were presented the equipment personally from Mr. Stanakzai and us, soldiers of the Czech PRT. All of us believe that this project will bring lots of fun to all the children.
August 11, 2010
Floods in Logar!! All of us soldiers of PRT watch with great concern the development in the floods in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, similar situation goes on in many places in Logar. Local floods are devastating here. Most of the houses here are built from clay and straw that were completely destroyed after a short rain. During our patrols we witnessed a total destruction. The families with small children sitting helplessly in front of their destructed house, trying to save at least the smallest things they had at home. Another big disaster for the locals are the flooded fields that were supposed to produce the food for winter.
One of the most affected villages is Padkhvab-e Shanhe village. “We have never seen anything like this before. I don’t know what I should do now. I have six children. Half of the house was taken away by water, the field behind the house is flooded completely,” said one of the farmers Jan Mohammad. Together with our colleagues from the civil part we reacted immediately and started to organise help for the most affected families. We contacted the governor of the province Mr. Atigullah Lodin and the seniors of particular villages who accepted our help immediately. During one day, we also managed to buy the most needed material. Every family will receive mattresses, blankest, bottled water, disinfection and packet of basic food that should be enough for the family to use for 2 weeks. After this time, local authorities should be responsible for solving the consequences of the floods. “The situation in Logar nowadays is not easy for all the families. However, in cooperation with the colleagues from the CIMIC group we try to solve it immediately. Most important is the first help that is provided. Blankets, food and drinking water. All the help is coordinated with local government, Red Cross and UN agencies so that it would be direct and it would not be possible to abuse it”, says the chief of the civil part Matyáš Zrno. In cooperation with the representatives of the local government, Afghan National Army and police we will distribute this help to all the selected regions as fast as possible. The above-mentioned help will be realised from the sources of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, humanitarian movement Centipede and the gatherings of the Czech and Moravian parishes.
August 5, 2010
Final ceremony of the painting exhibition Afghan talent !! Today, we and our colleagues of the civil part of the PRT concluded the painting exhibition „Afghan talent“ and awarded the winners. Except the students, almost 90 of their family members visited our base. To our surprise, mothers and sisters of the competitors came as well. Truly unbelievable. Until today, the 5th contingent organised many events for local children (sport events or chidren´s days), but only in the presence of their fathers. The women always stayed at home. Today was different, however. It was so extraordinary that the husbands took their wives with them. We were especially impressed after the ceremony and handing over the prices, when mothers and fathers presented their children with flowers and embrased each other.
From the hands of the chiefs of the military contingents and the chief of the civil PRT the students were presented with commemorative certificates and presents. Together with other guests, they had the chance to see the presentation of the Czech PRT and its projects. At the end of the event, small refreshment was served to everybody.
"I was looking forward to this day very much. Never before, I have won anything.I am a bit sad that that my schoolmate Manzomah could not be here. She won too, but she is ill today. Her mother and father are here instead. Thank you very much for all the presents," said 14 years old Najieh from the girls school Bibi Amanan, one of the winners of the competition.
July 31, 2010
Day full of games in Logar! The Children’s Day (second in a row) was opened by Chief of the 5th contingent of the Czech Army PRT Col. of the Chief of the Staff Rudolf Honzák. The day full of games and fun was organised together with the civil part of Czech provincial reconstruction team in cooperation with the American, Afghan and Jordan colleagues. The patron of today’s event was – as usually – the Centipede. There were six disciplines prepared for about 30 children. Little guests competed in drawing, jumping in a sack, throwing balls into the mouth of tiger, throwing balls on the cans, throwing rings on the target and slalom between the cones. After every discipline, the children were rewarded with a candy. For the girls, the favourite discipline was drawing. “Mostly, I love to draw flowers and animals”, says little Latifa who came today with her Dad from the Khan Khala village nearby. Her following sentences disappear in the loud voices of other children. Everybody wants to tell us what his /her favourite object for drawing is. Nobody can keep them quiet, until our colleague Petra appears. You can easily see that the Afghan children really respect women in uniforms.
While the girls favoured drawing most, most of the boys were completely stunned with throwing and demolishing the cans by throwing the tennis balls on them. Instead of aiming, the boys were trying to put as much power as they could. Couple of my colleagues who were standing by, realised this very soon. Some of the children did not stop throwing even at times where our boys tried to build up a pyramid of cans for the next round…
“I was here with my Dad the last time and I especially enjoyed throwing the tennis balls. Last time I came with my brother too, but he could not come today as he is ill”, explains 10 years old Zaki Ahmad fro Pol-e Alam. His father, Gull Ahmad said that the first time he came to the Children’s day because he was simply curious. Never before he had the chance to meet the coalition soldiers in such an informal way. He told us that events like this had enormous impact to the image of the coalition troops, from the point of view of the local people. He had the chance to talk to the Czech soldiers twice only, but every time he had a bit fear and lots of respect, of course.
“Czech soldiers have always treated us very friendly, but I had a huge respect even though this. There were big cars and soldiers with weapons. That is why I came to the first day together with my children and was curious to see how your home looks like and what kind of hosts you are. I have to say that the kids and I had a wonderful day. Today, my son is having a great time too”. After the last competition the highlight of the day came – the presentation of the training of the dogs. Again, it had a huge success today, mainly situations when the dogs catching the balls ran among the children. Small refreshment was served at the end of the day. Every child received a small present and the day came to its end. This event definitely contributed to the strengthening of friendship between the coalition soldiers and local people. Somebody might say that this is only a drop of water in the sea. But one could hardly find more suitable occasion to deepen mutual trust than during the events organised for children, the most precious thing in Muslim culture. I was really happy to see our colleagues who came to us and without asking they offered help and assistance. Of course, we gladly accepted. Except the usual co-operation with our American colleagues, we could welcome our Afghan colleagues for the first time and our colleagues from the Royal Jordan Army. I truly hope that this wonderful co-operation will continue during the presence of our colleagues from the 6th contingent of PRT.
July 28, 2010
Semi-finals of the competition „Afghan talent“! Together with the colleagues of the civil part of PRT we organised the semi-final of the painting competition that took place in previous months in 18 Logar schools. We were about to chose 10 best paintings out of 56. We will invite the painters and their family members to the final ceremony. The board was international, of course. Except the people from the Czech Republic, there were colleagues of the US Army, Afghan Army, Afghan Police and representatives of the humanitarian organisation USAID. We organised the whole event as a small exhibition. In the morning, we installed all 5 paintings in the yard of our base. Without telling anything to anybody, the painting caught the interest of all. No wonder, such scenery cannot be seen every day here. Our initial idea of a decent decision of the jury vanished almost immediately. More than 50 people saw the exhibition within an hour. We had to use this, of course. Everybody got one vote and decided about his/her 10 favourite paintings. We gathered 42 ballots with different scores. I think the selection could not be more objective. Kristýna and Veronika, our colleagues from the civil part of PRT counted all the ballots carefully and 10 best paintings were chosen.
You can have a look at the winning pieces at the photos attached. The final of the competition will take place with the presence of the painters, their families and many significant personalities of the province. During this ceremony the winner will be chosen and he/she will get the main prize. I will inform you about this in the next part of my diary.
July 24, 2010
The painting contest „Afghan talent“ !! In 18 school of 6 districts, the Czech PRT organised a painting contest for the school children. The project is a common result of the experts of the civil part of our contingent, its military part represented by CIMIC group and the employees of the provincial Ministry of Education in Pol-e Alam. The project could not be realised without the financial contribution of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Movement on own feet, Centipede. During the month of June, 120 pieces of painting canvas, brushes and etc. were distributed to 18 Logar schools. The schools were selected during our discussions with the local Ministry of Education. In every school, the most talented children were selected and asked to make a painting for their Czech friends… the topics were „my family“ and „my dream of Afghanistan“. The deadline was July 18. Every school in the project was rewarded with textbooks and other school utilities, valued 10 000,- USD altogether. Every student/painter will receive a plaquette and other small gifts. Ten of the best works will be invited to a ceremony, together with their family members.
These winners will receive the prizes from many important representatives of the region and province: chiefs of the military contingents of the FOB Shank, chief of the civil part of Czech PRT, provincial Minister of Education Dr. Jafar with his colleagues, the chief of the 4th kandak of the Afghan National Army, the chief of the Police in Logar province and others. On Monday, me and my colleague Kristýna collected 56 paintings at the Ministry of Education. The number might seem small (comparing to the canvases distributed), but it is all right. Well, I expected maybe 80 paintings to go to the final round, but I am satisfied anyway. Some of the paintings were not sent back as they were not good, some of them were damaged during the transportation to the remote districts of the province. What will happen now? All the 56 paintings are on our base already. In the days to come a group of two of CIMIC members and civil part of our contingent, two representatives of the US and Afghan army will try to select the top 10 paintings. Looking at the pictures you can see that it will not be an easy job. For example: the painting with the hand I am holding in the photo, was made by a 10-year-old girl named Negena from the Mohammad Agha district. I can hardly remember the quality of my paintings at the age of 10 and am sure that I could never do something like this even now. I will inform you about the ceremony and the feelings of the winners in following parts of my diary.
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July 20, 2010
Handing over of 10 obstetric sets to the Ministry of Public Health. Today in the morning, we handed over 10 obstetric sets to the Minister of Public Health Mr. Alhaj Mohammad Zafir. This project started my colleague Lada a while ago and we were very pleased to finish it. The obstetric sets will be handed over at the opportunity of the finish of the course for obstetricians that are currently running under the patronage of the Ministry of Public Health in the capital of Logar province, Pol-e Alam. There are 24 doctors and nurses from 9 hospitals in the districts of Pol-e Alam, Mohammad Agha, Khoshi, Baraki Barak and Azra taking part in the course. Dr. Zafir expressed his gratitude and pointed out how much he appreciated the co-operation with the Czech soldiers and civil experts. He told us that healthcare and especially obstetrics go through a tough time and it would definitely take time until it is independent and self-contained. He also said that his colleagues from other ministries face similar problems. These problems, however, do not have such fatal consequences for the lives of people as the insufficient healthcare could have. He reminded again the positive response he got after finishing the courses of breastfeeding and child’s nutrition that run with the patronage of the Centipede and Czech PRT.
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July 16, 2010
Rotations of the 6th contingent started! Today in the morning, first members of the 6 contingent of the PRT in Logar arrived at our base FOB Shank. There are also two new members of the CIMIC, Mirek and Leoš. After they will be introduced to everyday life at the base, I will start handing over my agenda to my successor Mirek. It will be him, who will be responsible for the results of the CIMIC group in the next half-year term. Our efforts will aim to finishing the ongoing projects before our departure back to the Czech Republic, so that our new colleagues could start planning new projects and ideas.
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July 13, 2010
Common project with the Afghan National Army. Even though there is no group of civil-military co-operation (CIMIC) in the Afghan National Army at the moment, we do try to complete common project to selected schools in the districts of Kherwar, Charkh, Baraki Barak and Khoshi. Our Afghan counterpart is major Mohammad Walli and Cpt. Abdul Qareh. The idea of the project is to spread the knowledge about the coalition forces to the places where Czech PRT cannot come on regular basis. This will be the task for our Afghan colleagues. During planning of this Quick Impact Project (QIP) we decided that the Czech representatives would offer school material and small gifts. Together we selected schools and regions that comply with the „ink spots“ I was writing earlier about, meaning helping the regions that support the Afghan government and the co-operation on development projects. Co-operation with the Afghan colleagues will certainly also widen up our field of action. This is only a QIP at the moment, of course… and just the beginning. Important aspect of this all is also the fact that the aid will be distributed by the Afghan military forces. This will help to increase the respect and authority of the members of the Afghan National Army to the local people.
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July 9, 2010
Shooting competition Czech Lion! The soldiers of the 5th contingent of the provincial reconstruction team Logar organised the last „farewell“ shooting competition before our return to the Czech Republic. There were many fans, as these events are always very nice and friendly. As this was an international competition, everybody had a chance to discuss with the US and Jordan colleagues both military and non-military issues. The CIMIC group could not miss this, of course and came with its own team. There were teams of 3 members and the pistol Glock 17 was used. This belongs to common equipment of the Czech soldiers. The captain of the team, Norbert, nominated two other excellent shooters, Jakub and Lukáš. All the others had to be satisfied with the roles in the realisation team. The competition started at 9 o’clock with the registration and introduction of every team. Even at that time we all knew that the competition would be tough. There were 19 teams altogether !! After a short discussion we decided we had to finish in the first half of the starting list. At 10 o’clock sharp, the first shots were shot. And this was the shot of our captain Norbert… In the 10 minutes limit the boys had 13 shots each; 3 worst shots did not count to the final score. I will not play along any longer. The boys did really well and with the score 275 out of 300 finished at a wonderful 7th place! And I have to add that by scoring 2 points more they could have reached a medal position. The best shooters of the team were Jakub and Lukáš who got 91 points out of 100. The winning prize in the men’s category and the Czech Lion received the team of the Military police with a total score of 285 out of 300.
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July 8, 2010
Help in Kherwar district continues!! During the last 14 days, the CIMIC group was about to perform uneasy tasks in Kherwar district, Logar. Jakub and Norbert did their tasks really well. Within more than 2 weeks stay in Kerwar D.C., a village in the heart of the district, they went for 11 patrols to the villages where none of the Czechs had been before. They needed to find out as much as possible about the lives and needs of local people. They took part in many shuras a talked to almost every important representative of the region. Valuable information that was delivered by local people will serve to a quality project planning for the whole region. Now the civil part of our PRT team plans already to build a new district centre that will become new administrative centre for the whole region. At the moment, it is not possible for any of the offices to work effectively. There are no buildings, roads, infrastructure and mainly no officers. After many discussions with the governor of the Logar province Mr. Lodin and his deputy in Kherwar district Mr. Homayon, it was clear that unless there are no conditions for the work of public administration, the conditions of the local people never get better. Examples from other Afghan regions show that if there is a functional district centre with officers and institutions, people will learn to come to the officers to share their problems, there would be markets, the city will revive and the government will have more respect. And thanks to this, the security in the region will improve. This is the task of our contingent now. Nobody wants to presume the length of the project, but for sure, this will be years. However, first little steps were done. As I informed you earlier, the school close to the district centre was partly reconstructed, with the help of 5 contingent of the Czech Army, Centipede, Czech parishes and others. Even if it is still an old ruinous building with only 2 classrooms (30 pupils each), the lessons are being conducted. 4 months ago, during our first visit, there were 20 pupils and one teacher, with no textbooks or notebooks. The children took notes on pieces of paper. The teacher was not getting a salary as the school had not been registered at that time. Couple of days after our visit we contacted Minister Jafar and speeded up the registration of the school so that the teacher could get a salary. We bought a large tent, carpets, and blackboards and handed over more than a tone of school material. This should be enough for the school to run for the whole year. The schoolbags with the Afghan flag became a real hit among the children. In cooperation with the sub-governor Mr. Homayon we informed via the local media that the lessons in the school went on. We were very surprised being told by Jakub and Norbert that more than 250 children go to this school now and there are 4 teachers already. The tent is still there, there are 50 children sitting on the carpet and listening to the teacher carefully. Other 60 children get their knowledge in the classes inside. They write their notes into new notebooks and carry their new schoolbags on the way to school. This is the best proof that the money has been invested well and the project was a success. Everybody here could confirm that without the sub-governor’s there would be no tent anymore as it would be stolen, the carpet would be in some high official’s house and the school material would be locked in a storage room. Unfortunately, we saw cases like this here, during our mission. The happier we are to know that everything goes really well. Our main problem here remains bad security situation in the district.
June 30, 2010
Closing ceremony of the media course for the Logar women!! Czech PRT in cooperation with the director of women’s affairs Mrs. Najita Sayed and director of local Zinat radio Mr. Noorullah Stanakzai organised a 12 days media course for 24 Logar women (a truly pioneering event). The journalists-to-be got introduced to the theory and practice of the work of a journalist. They learned how to compose news, do interviews, how to write articles. Every woman also took part in the programme of the Zinat radio. Its director Mr. Stanakzai (an experienced journalist who also worked in Radio Free Europe) was truly satisfied with the standard of the students. As we were told by Mrs. Mullawi of the Baraki Barak district, all the topics of the course were really interesting and the internship in Zinat radio introduced a real world of journalism to her. Other women also stated that they would love to extend their knowledge in the course for advanced. Most of them would like to become journalists; however, they are aware of the fact that it would be difficult to work as a journalist in Logar. Most of the women have families and it is not possible to move to Kabul because of work. In the end, all the women thanked to Czech PRT for a great organisation of the course and agreed that these kinds of events are a truly important part of their emancipation efforts.
June 26, 2010
Our trip today was the one to the city hall of the capital of Logar province, Pol-e Alam. During couple of previous discussions with the representatives of the city hall we realised that local people would really welcome getting press information about the events in their province and the events in whole Afghanistan. We really appreciated this request, of course. One cannot find this information here much… not to talk about regular news service to local market. In the past, coalition soldiers tried to distribute leaflets, promotional materials and magazines; however, these efforts were not coordinated and were mostly random (the patrol simply handed the leaflets out there during their trips to people passing by). Our main idea was creating effective system of distribution. We focused on most populated places and Pol-e Alam itself. During one of the meetings with the provincial minister for information, Mr. Abdul Wakim Ajmadzai, we could see that there is no traditional system of distribution of press. There are no official selling places, due to the lack of the press. And if there are any, there are not many. One of the places of press distribution would be the city hall, “offering” unorganised pile of various papers. People passing by can chose whatever they want. Well, our next visit was the one at the Pol-e Alam mayor’s office. Mr. Mohammad Hosainkhiel, the mayor, is in charge of licensing newsstands on selected places. He really appreciated our idea and promised to help us in any way possible. In the end he informed us that he really did not have financial sources to cover the project. Together we chose 10 places where the newsstands would be placed. All places were in the surroundings of the city hall. We managed to get one person from the city hall responsible for all this. These “sample” newsstands will show if this idea was a good one and worth extending. Not even the mayor could guarantee all of the 10 newsstand would be there in a month…It is worth a try, though. We also managed to ensure the regular supply of Sada-e Azadi newspaper. These newspapers are being distributed mainly in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. In Logar province, the supplies were very irregular. Sada-e Azadi is a very popular paper that informs about the events in whole Afghanistan as well as in its particular districts. The articles are published not only in local languages (Dari and Pashtu), but also in English. In this way, in many cases the newspapers substitute English textbooks in school. If you are interested in the paper, you can go to www.sada-e-azadi.net. Jakub and Pepa considered everything really well and decided to arrange a regular bi-weekly delivery of 1copies of the paper. 800 pieces would be delivered to the city hall where they would be distributed into the newsstands. The rest (200 pcs) will be delivered to the Ministry of Education that will distribute the papers to particular schools. After a while, we will evaluate the project and decide what to do next. The reactions are more than good at the moment; well this does not mean the victory yet… Only time can tell.
June 23, 2O1O
FIRST CENTIPEDE SCHOOL IN LOGAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN !! The efforts of last couple of months were concluded by handing over a reconstructed and newly equipped Hamid Karzani boy’s school in central Pol-e Alam. Allow me to introduce a short history of the project that was completed this morning. Even before the 5 contingent of the PRT of Czech Army in Logar started co-operating with the Centipede, we came up with the idea of helping the local children, pupils and students with the preparation for their future lives and making the conditions of their study a bit easier. Immediately after our first meeting with Minister of Education Mr. Jafar, we were pretty clear that with the financial sources we had we would not be able to equip more than two schools. We let Mr. Jafar to decide which schools will be helped. He himself knew best where to allocate our assistance in the most effective way. On the other hand, we were stressing out the need of a sustainability of the project. It is obvious that every school in Logar province would need help.
In the end, we decided to help the schools in regions where the co-operation both with the local authorities and the coalition partners is possible. The selection of the schools was consulted also with the civil part of our contingent. We decided to follow the strategy of „ink marks“. The main idea of this strategy is supporting the schools in the regions with welcoming attitude towards the coalition troops. Every help is really appreciated here and the people really take care of buildings, equipment and others that is given to them.
Another condition of this strategy is further improvement of living and social standards of the local people from these regions. Thanks to this we are sending a clear message to other „less friendly“ parts of this country: „… see, the people in nearby region co-operate with the coalition soldiers, they support the legally elected Afghan government and thanks to this their living standard is much higher than yours. They have new schools, playgrounds, a new hospital was built where good doctors work. Their children do not die because of being wounded by landmines or explosives…“ Well, we decided to co-operate with two schools in our region that would become Centipede schools in a short time. During every meeting we endlessly explained the aims, ideas and values of the Centipede… during all the meetings with local authorities, but also with the US and Jordan colleagues. Especially colleagues from the US CIMIC were absolutely blown with the co-operation with Centipede and helped us by giving us material and money. They even learnt to call the movement Centipede instead of Caterpillar.
The first school selected was Hamid Karzai elementary and high school, which is a central educational institute for the region of central Pol-e Alam. There are about 900 students and 15 teachers in the school. After couple of meetings with the director of the school Mr. Hadji Abdul Baqi and provincial Minister of Education Mr. Jafar we identified the biggest problems of this school. We discussed this all with our American colleagues and started to work. The US CIMIC group took care of the outer coat of the building and nearby kalat (brick fence around the land) and couple of classes that were decorated by them. The colleagues also did the reparations on local playground.
We, Czech soldiers, bought (after carefully selecting the company) other material and equipment: 2 large tents (for 120 students each), 200m of carpet that will eliminate the dust and enable a more comfortable stay in the tents, 3 big reservoirs for drinking water (300 litres each). We equipped two classes with 30 school desks and donated over 1.5 tonnes of other school material. In co-operation with the US colleagues we also managed to get football goals and volleyball nets; a complete cricket set and football set was donated too.
On the request of Minister Jafar, the US colleagues bought the history and geography textbooks. The total costs of this project slightly exceeded 10 300,- USD. Thanks to very careful preparations of the project „Hamid Karzai – Centipede school“ and taking into consideration the amount of material assistance that was given to this school, was this amount of money invested in a very effective way. The presence of the high-ranking representatives of local authorities confirms the importance of the project to the Afghan community. Among others, representatives of the provincial Ministry of Education Mr. Ahmad Mohammed, members of the shura of Padhkvab-e Shaneh village, representatives of the 5 contingent of the PRT Logar of the Czech Army, representatives of the US task force TF REPEL and of course the director of the school Mr. Baqi and his teachers. I do not need to write how grateful all of the people were. We were also very pleased when we were told by our interpreter that he had just heard Mr. Jafar´s speech on the radio Millie Paygham. Minister thanked for the help and co-operation not only to the Centipede, but also to all the Czech soldiers. Other short spots will be aired on RTA Radio and Unity Radio. The press information and an article about this day will be in Sada-e Azadi news, in a very popular Kabul magazine Killid and on www.army.cz.
Our thanks go to the whole Centipede family and the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. Without their gracious financial donations we would not be able to do all this. I would also like to thank my colleagues from CIMIC for a perfect preparation of the whole event.
By this, our work on the Centipede project in Logar does not end !! We still have some 55 days to go until our 5 contingent here finisher. We would love to bring other tasks that were discussed with Mrs. Bìla to a successful end. We will try to equip and hand over another school, build a multipurpose playground for the pupils in Surchab and Gowmaran, create three playing corners for children in selected hospitals and buy sporting equipment for kids´ teams in Pol-e Alam, Khosi, Mohammad Agha, Azra and Baraki Barak districts. In the end, we would love to organise another Day for children at our base FOB Shank. These events will be financed by Centipede, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, donations of Czech parishes and schools and will be serving to more than 2000 Afghan children. The number of project may seem a bit high (we have 55 days only), but I personally hope that we will conclude each of them in time before our departure. Thanks to the division of CIMIC into three parts, most of the projects are running already. That is why I truly believe that I will be able to inform you about the success of all our plans here…
June 20, 2010
Womens´garden, a project of reintegration. The aim of this is to include Afghan women in the public life. Does that sound too ambitious? Well, sure it is. It would not be possible without the silent support (or at least silent agreement) of the Afghan government, provincial ministries and mainly the interest of local women. That is also why the provincial Ministry of Women’s Affairs was founded. Mrs. Najiba Sayed, a very self-confident and intelligent woman, represents the Ministry. In this phase of development of the Afghan Islamic Republic we cannot talk about feminism, emancipation of fight for women’s rights, of course. I was at couple of meetings where Mrs. Najiba tried to express her opinion. The reaction of the men was always the same. They were leaving the room, making phone calls and talked to each other. Sometimes they thanked her for her opinion, but their smiling faces expressed their opinion of this lady’s contribution to their discussions. Nobody answered her questions and the discussion went on.
That is why project Womens´ garden was founded; the project is supported by Czech PRT and American USAID. The project aims at choosing women candidates to create a women shura (the council of the elderly that exists in the male form). This body should then advocate women’s rights in Logar, on various meetings and gatherings. During today’s first meeting, the basic principles of the operation of the project were discussed. Silva, Jarka and Kristýna represented the Czech part of the project. Candidates to the shura were nominated and a list of requests (logistic and material) was completed. Except the advocating of women’s rights, this body will also be responsible for organising of several education courses and social events for women. Mrs. Najiba reminded again the courses of breastfeeding and nutrition of a child that was organised for more than 50 women, wit the financial contribution of the Centipede. The participation in the project is on voluntary basis, so the women in the project will not be getting any money/salary. Well, the project started to work. After only one meeting, we don’t know if it will be successful… but we certainly hope so. Even in Europe, feminism was born some 100 years ago… It is year 1388 here; let us hope that the process will be a bit faster here.
June 18, 2010
FUN run! A running race around the FOB Shank base, organised at the 10 years anniversary of parachute brigade of the US Army that works with us in Logar province. The length of the run is 10 kilometres, the temperature around 40° in the sun. The altitude is 2100 m, surface being the rough gravel, hilly terrain around. Do you still think that “fun run” is the correct name of this event? Well, I certainly don’t. But from the point of view of the US paratrooper everything is OK. After a short discussion we decided to nominate one representative of our CIMIC. Yes, you hear well. The hero of the day is Silva! So young and so brave! … and so good! She ran the 10 kilometres easily and with elegance and took the 2 place in the end, with total time of 52 minutes. CONGRATULATIONS !! We all look forward to another competition with our American colleagues. Next week, there is a hot dog eating contest… there will be no discussions about who should be nominated this time, as there will be many of volunteers…
June 14, 2010
Another Centipede project in Logar!! The food for the orphans and widows in Baraki Barak district. After discussion with the province governor Mr. Lodin and sub governor of the Baraki Barak district Mr. Rahim we decided to buy small presents for the orphans and widows in Baraki Barak district centre D.C. and Kashmiri Bala and Pandi Bala village. We have a very good relationship with Mr. Rahim; that is why we were very pleased we could help (especially when we will work with the orphans and widows). We counted carefully the number of incomplete families and bought 50 packets for the widowed women and their families. Each of the packets contained 5 litres of cooking oil, 5kg of sugar, 5 kg of flour and a kilo of local tea. As a present of the Czech PRT we also added a traditional scarf – pashmina. I am sure I do not have to write about the difficulties of widowed women in Afghanistan, the world of men. All of us also know that this small present will not turn their lives upside down… this is the task of Afghan governmental, provincial and district authorities. Nevertheless, we made a couple of families happy for a while.
June 9, 2010
The task of the day – selection of the right regions for realisation of projects in Baraki Barak district. Everything is co-ordinated – as usually – with the vice-governor of the province Mr. Rahim. During today’s patrol, we will go to Zagumkhle village. We needed to take photos and measure the peace of land that would be used for future projects of the Czech PRT team. The main needs for the local people are building the centre for milk collection and the sport centre for local children and pupils of a nearby school. Most of the local people (as anywhere here) make their living as farmers. Most of them have only a small piece of land, a cow, sheep or a goat. Milk that is not being used for personal use should be sold at the market. The problem with most of the people is not just the length of the whole process, but mainly poor hygienic conditions under which milk is stored and distributed. Logically, this affects the price for which this milk is being sold. As we were once told by Mr. Ali Shah Manan, a local farmer, he and most of his friends try to sell the overflow of vegetable and animals in the capital Kabul. Mr. Manan told us that there are no problems with quality of milk at the local market in Zagumkhel as he is able to sell even the leftovers the same day; however the transportation to Kabul is a bit difficult. No wonder.
We saw plastic barrels in which the milk is stored; this can never be sold after. But the locals really do not care about hygiene. That is why a centre for collecting mild would be necessary. Building the centre would guarantee keeping a good quality of milk and thanks to this increase of the income from selling it. You might ask whom the centre will belong to and who will run it. Most of the Afghan people are used to take care of their own land and possession or possession of their clan and are used to solve only the problems of their village. That is why there are high walls around the land, that is why there are women wearing burkas, that is why there is such a suspicion to foreigners and everything that is new. Well, Czech PRT cannot afford to build and equip the collection centre for every farmer. I can assure you that every Afghan man would love to have one. That is why there are so called “co-operatives” being built in the whole Logar province. These are sort of agricultural co-operation centres specialised in e.g. bee keeping or milk production and many others. I would describe them as specialised syndicates that should enable to their members more effective and more quality work and production. Well, the milk collection in Zagumkhel village will belong to a local co-operative that will be responsible for operating it.
Another project will be building of a multipurpose playground nearby an elementary school. It will serve to more than 750 children from the whole region. Among others, money that was donated by the Centipede will be used to build this playground. Selection of the supplier and realisation of the project should be finished in two months. I truly hope that it will happen within the time of the mission of the 5 contingent and we will be able to let you know about the joy of local children.
June 6, 2010
Another celebration of this week!! It is the name day of our colleague Norbert! Norb, we wish you all the best! Mainly let this mission be successful one for you and may you return home to your family and friends in health.
June 5, 2010
Today in the afternoon, a meeting with provincial Minister of Sports Mr. Stanakzai was scheduled. The topic was easy – Centipede help to selected children’s sport teams in Logar. Mr. Stanakzai welcomed Petra and Radim in his office in the centre of the province capital Pol-e Alam. At the beginning of the meeting Minister apologized for the conditions of the meeting; the day was his last day in his old destroyed office. From the next day on, he and his colleague will be working in a new office couple of block away from here. Our main aim was to get the list of sport clubs, its specialisation, number of members and list of equipment they would need. As this was about our 5 meeting, we expected that the lists would be ready for us. Even we were a bit sceptical, we succeeded in the end and Minister (by the way former Olympic team member of Afghanistan in boxing) handed us over his requests. Well, there were quite a lot of them, but we sort of expected this. Some of them (e.g. equipping the new office with TV set and satellite receiver with sport channels prepaid for the whole year) took us by surprise. But honestly I must admit that meetings with Mr. Stanakzai are very nice and take place in a friendly atmosphere. He is one of the ministers who deals with us in a very straightforward way. It is definitely because of the fact that he is an active sportsman and that is why there are always topics for discussion. During one of our meetings, he even offered me boxing with him. He told that he had never had a chance to fight with a Czech man and that I seemed quite a good fighter. That pleased me very much, of course. However, when I self-critically evaluated my chances, I politely refused… my working duties do not allow me to be unconscious for a couple of days in a row. My ego did not allow me to admit the position of an outsider; that is why Minister had to accept my apology of not bringing my sporting costume with me.
But back to our project. Tomorrow, we will discuss the list of the requests and will chose the reasonable and rational ones that we will try to realise later. I will inform you about our further steps, of course.
June 2, 2010
It is Radim´ s birthday… and we have only one wish. Many happy returns from all the colleagues in Logar, lots of health, luck and good spirit !! Le the second half of our mission here be as fast as the previous one! Radim, I am sure that your family will celebrate once again when you come back home.
May 27, 2010
Centipede help to the schools in Pyarukheyl and Kherwar D.C. village! Silva and Petra, together with American, Jordan and Afghan colleagues left for Pyarukheyl village in order to hand over gifts that were bought from the financial contribution of the Centipede. We met with director Shujah during our previous visits to the region already. He requested us several times for any help for his school. As we could see, the school is very deprived; it is the only elementary and secondary school in the region. Three years ago, the outer coat of the school was renovated, but the inner places of the school remained untouched, due to the lack of finances. The school is attended by 450 children from the nearby villages. It is a school for boys only. We asked about the studies for girls too; we were told that it would be all right for the school to educate girls. However, the lack of space and teachers does not allow practicing the morning classes for boys and afternoon classes for girls, in the same way as in other schools. With such an amount of students, there are only nine teachers who teach non-stop in both shifts. Among other problems the director has to face, are small salaries. The teacher is getting about 3afghani, that equals to approximately USD 65 a month. As we were told by director Shujah, the problem is not that much in the amount, but in the irregularity of the salary. The teachers confirmed after that they did not receive any salary within last three months. Nobody is answering their complaints to the provincial Ministry of Education. Every director of the school must have excellent motivation skills so that he can make his teachers to stay under these conditions. Evaluating the situation, we (us and our colleagues from the civil part and the American and Jordan colleagues) decided to buy 3 large tents and provide material help (school gadgets). Similarly to the school in Pyarukheyl we approached the school in Kherwar D.C. district. This time, we could provide a large tent for the outdoor lessons of more than 250 pupils of this (rather small) school. The money went from the gifts of the Centipede and many other donors – perishes, schools, municipalities and private persons. Of course, we informed province Minister of Education Mr. Jafar about our activities in advance. Mr. Jafar was very grateful and pointed out that Afghan education was only at the beginning of its journey to its self sufficiency and that he appreciated any help from the coalition troops. Minister especially thanked to the Centipede and told us that only a couple of months ago, shortly after he met the Centipede, he had no idea the Centipede in cooperation with the Czech Army could provide a particular help for so many schools and places in Afghanistan. We, soldiers of the 5 contingent of the Czech Army in Logar, gladly join him. THANK YOU !
May 24, 2010
Chief of staff of the Army of the Czech Republic Army General Vlastimil Picek visited our contingent today. After the official welcome of the chief of the contingent Col. Honzák, Gen Picek could see the weaponry and equipment used by the soldiers of the contingent during the operations in Logar. Part of the demonstration was also presenting the activities of the group of civil-military cooperation (CIMIC). We introduced our present and future project to the General, including the quick impact projects and the Centipede projects, of course.
We pointed out the involvement of other donors – a large number of parishes, schools, municipalities from Moravia an Silesia that helped by sending money or material to the people of the province. At the end of the visit at the base FOB Shank, General handed over packets and letters to the soldiers from their family and friends.
May 19, 2010
Jakub and Norb flew today to Surchab village. We have a very good cooperation with the director of a local school; we wanted to surprise him and bring some presents to the pupils. As the capacity of a helicopter is limited, of course, the guys packed their backpacks with the notebooks and pens from the collection gathered before our contingent arrived in Logar. I would like to thank once again to every school, company, parish and person for their presents that make local children very happy. It is also very important for us as we can show the friendly face of ours and can come closer to the local people. All the members of our contingent consider your presents as demonstration of trust and respect to an uneasy and responsible work done by the 5 contingent. THANK YOU.
May 15, 2010
It is not only work that takes all our time here in Logar. One of the most important parts of our lives here is sport. Until today, we (us and our American colleagues) used mostly a small Czech fitness and a bigger American fitness centre that are close to Czech B-huts (bungalows where the soldiers live). Good news for the fitness fans came up. After a couple of weeks of excitement and speculations, a new large fitness centre of the size of a tennis court was opened. What a change, in the past the fitness centre was overcrowded and one had to even queue. Well, most of the equipment is American… so a Czech can be a bit confused of the system of rollers and bars. It was funny during the first days… some of us had to realise first how to use the machines and what they are for. In the end, we learned or simply watched the others and understood. Now we look and behave like professionals.
May 13, 2010
Children’s´ Day at Juliska !! I will not describe the celebrations of the 20 anniversary of founding of the Centipede and the 10 anniversary of its cooperation with the Czech Army; most of you took part in it personally or could at least read about it in other articles here. I will try to sum up the importance of this day for us, the members of the 5 contingent of the Czech Army PRT in Logar, Afghanistan. Our commander delegated me to represent our contingent and to convey our greetings from Logar to the Centipede family. In the morning, I and my successor Míra met Mrs. Bìla. We discussed the Centipede projects that we succeeded to realise in Logar. We agreed that all the projects were successful and nothing can stop us from continuing to help the children and women in Logar. Mrs. Bìla thanked us for our efforts; we were really honoured. The main aim of the military part of PRT is the support of the civil part in its development and reconstruction projects. All of us realise also the importance of winning sympathy of the local people. The support of the local communities, children and women is an ideal way how to do so. With Mrs. Bìla we also talked about our future projects. As I informed you already in previous parts of our diary, the biggest project we would like to realise here is equipping two of local schools with the school material. Moreover, together with the Ministry of Health we will try to equip kids´ corners in couple of Logar hospitals. We will also buy two large tents so that the lessons of the children could take place in a bit more comfortable conditions than in overcrowded schools. We will also organise second Children’s´ Day at our base; the previous one was very successful, remember? Well, these are the most important projects of near future.
After the end of our meeting, we left for the stadium, together with other guests. At 1 p.m. the programme started. During the opening, I noticed that the whole Centipede family took the project “Plane full of crayons, plane full of love” really seriously as many crayons were gathered. We loaded them all and took them to the crew in Hranice. From here, the load will be delivered to Logar. Another important moment was handing over of the cheque for 20 000,- USD from the Centipede children and a cheque for 50 000,- CZK from the Czech branch of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem to the 5 contingent of the Czech Army PRT in Logar. Allow me to thank in the name of the chief of the contingent Gen. Rudolf Honzák to everybody who took part in the collection and contributed in this way to a great thing. Of course, we will inform you about any project realised with the help of your money here on the pages of the diary.
May 11, 2010
Today in the morning, we flew together with the water management and construction engineers of the civil part of our PRT to the most remote region of our province – Azra. The purpose of the operation „Aquatic resource“ was to find the water springs in this mountainous region of Afghanistan and with the help of some water pipes to bring water to a hospital and villages nearby. The project, that our PRT has been requested by the vice-governor of the district Azra Mr. Hai and the people from a couple of villages, is at its beginning. Special water management measures have to be done and based on these it has to be decided if the realisation of the project would be effective from the economical perspective and from the point of view of sustainability of the system as well. After about 30 minutes flight, two American helicopters CH 47 Chinook landed on the dry river-basin. Our group that consisted of about 50 persons set off to a ten kilometres march upwards the river basin towards first water springs. It was our first visit of this remote, but beautiful region for me and my colleague Pepa. We walked through places where the nature was really “virgin”, with rocks of different colours everywhere. In places where the rocks contained lots of copper, they were beautifully red. We walked around remote homesteads that were carved into rocks. Our first stop was in the Reza Kheyl village. Immediately, a group of local children surrounded us. After a while we managed to get the senior of the village and asked him a couple of questions about life in his village. The second group asked another man of this village to show us where to find the springs that we were looking for in this district. The senior of the village agreed and lead our experts to the springs that were about 30 minutes away. The others had the unexpected possibility to have a rest. Of course, we used it for more discussions with the locals. Everybody was really helpful and expressed their support to us. They were interested in our countries and our project. We could see once again that people in these remote areas do not have the access to the information. There is no telephone landline here; of course, the mobile networks do not work here. Nobody minds, however. Everybody lives his quiet life… they create an isolated community. The only road that leads to the village is the stony river-basin that is difficult to walk, no chance to get on this way with any means of transport. However, the people surprised us more and more. We were used to face lots of requests and complaints from the Afghan people. The children always surrounded us, asking for pens, one’s watch, piece of chocolate, chewing gum, simply anything. So, we were all surprised not hearing a single request or complaint in this locked village of Reza Kheyl. I felt that the people looked at us as we were visitors from a different world. The children sat in silence far away, staring at you many minutes with no interruption. This is something that has always made me nervous. One talks with the senior of the village and can feel the eyes of about 20 children watching you at the same time. The local people told us that the last man in the uniform they saw (most probably an Afghan policeman), was about six months ago. We started to sense the atmosphere slowly and started to realise that this day would be a special day for these people – and especially children – a day that oddly dressed strangers came for a visit.
The group that went with the local people to search for the most precious things the people have – water – appeared on the horizon and came closer to our provisional camp. Well, couple of more pictures to take and we set off to another march. We gathered into a march formation and went back. The children followed us as if they did not want this special adventure to come to an end. Some of them slowly started to encourage themselves and tried to set up contact with the soldiers. Some of them tried to speak in broken English, the others in their language. Well, at least the journey went faster.
We visited other two villages like this. It always goes the same way. We ask some local people to help us to search for water springs, one group goes for the search and the other group tries to explain to the people our role in their country. The closer we come to the capital of the district Azra, the more information about coalition forces and their projects the people have. It is almost 4 p.m., the time the helicopters should pick us up. As we were a bit late in the end, we have to hurry in order not to miss the take off and having to look for a place to stay over night in nature. From the scout’s point of view this sound tempting, but not so from the point of view of a coalition soldier. You might imagine the possible risks of that. Well, me and Pepa felt the consequences of the higher speed in a moment. I think that we both are active athletes, but the bullet-proof vest, chambers, weapon, helmet and a big backpack on our back made us think about a big exercise instead of a big lunch followed with chocolate next time… The rough nature of Afghanistan knows no compromises. Thanks to a greater effort of the whole group we came to the meeting point in time. In a minute two black helicopters appeared and within five minutes all 50 people disappeared in the same way they appeared a couple of hours before. Information and data that were collected would be evaluated in the next couple of days and the civil experts would decide if the realisation of the project would be reasonable.
You can see the beauty of the countryside of the Azra district on the pictures attached.
May 8, 2010
Saturday mornings are usually dedicated to monthly meetings with the representatives of the district ministries in the capital of the province, Pol-e-Alam. This Saturday was one of them. The governor of the Logar province, Mr. Lodin, took part in today’s meeting. The discussions were friendly and quiet. The ministers informed about the situation at their ministries and in the end they approached the representatives of the coalition troops in order to discuss future projects that could contribute to the development of all the spheres of the province. These meetings are an ideal opportunity to plan further plans and discuss present and future Quick Impact Projects with the people concerned. We have all the people in one place and thanks to this we do not have to go to every one of them separately.
May 6, 2010
Today’s morning was dedicated to the ritual of opening the envelopes with the price offers for the projects of the civil part of the PRT. The deadline for delivering the offers of the construction companies that would like to be involved in three PRT´s projects was today. The projects were: realisation of the control point of the Afghan police in the Charkh district, the construction of two centres for the collection of milk and the construction of a morgue of the hospital in the capital of the Logar province (Pol-e Alam). The box with all the offers was placed at the entrance gate at our base FOB Shank all the time. Today, it was transported to the meeting room. Together with the representatives of the civil part of the PRT team, Honza, Klára, Alena and Veronika we brought all the offers to the room. When we pulled the envelopes out of the box, we wondered how all of them could fit in. Well, the projects were really attractive for local companies. The slot of the box was smaller than many of the cardboard envelopes. We created three piles, one for every project. We opened every envelope publicly and put the data in it into the computer. That is how three databases that would serve to the civil experts of the PRT for a faster search of data were created. One of the main conditions of the participation in the project was AISA card (local licence allowing the company to do business) and the need of the company’s account in US dollars. Companies that fulfilled these conditions went to the next round. Their offers were evaluated, mainly from the point of view of the price offered, the time schedule and other factors (for example if its employees resided in Logar). There were 125 offers sent, 75 of them for the construction of the centres for the collection of milk, 35 for the construction of the control point and 15 for the construction of the morgue in the capital’s hospital. All the information were evaluated and the winning companies were chosen. They will be able to start with the construction shortly.
May 3, 2010
We host the trainees of the 6 PRT contingent at our base. One of the members of the group is also our colleague Mirek who will take over the responsibility for the work of the CIMIC group in some time. Even if Mirek is with us only for about two weeks, he succeeded in cheering us up. Not only our colleagues brought some precious products for us (such as Czech sausages), but they brought us also news of all kinds from home. Everybody keeps on asking about the news at home, about who said what, who did what and so on. The CIMIC group was not an exception in this regard. The first evening, everybody of us spent in a log discussion with „his/her“ trainee from the new group. We went to sleep really late… The purpose of these meetings is to introduce our work to our successors and to inform them about the situation in Logar province; thanks to this we can help them to take over the tasks in the mission as much as we can. We discussed with Mirek not only the projects that were realised already, but also the projects that were planned to be concluded at the end of our mission. Introduction of the Centipede movement and our mutual cooperation had to be a part of our Mirek´s briefing, of course. Well, the wonderful news is that Mirek really liked the idea of the Centipede projects and he is willing to continue with it. We will work on more details with Mrs. Bìla during the celebrations of the 20 anniversary of the Centipede and the 10 anniversary of the cooperation with the Army of the Czech Republic. Hopefully both I and Mirek will take part.