Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yesterday the village elders of (Wardak) asked that we evaluate 5 orphan children at the new hospital for treatment. I was asked to check and see if the Egyptian Hospital in Bagram could help. When we arrived at the new AMOR hospital at 730 am these kids were all there patiently wating. They had to travel over 1 1/2 hrs to get here this morning. One had severe burns all over his head, looked like old scars and there was nothing we could do. Two were very mentaly challenged and probably had some form of autism. It was sad to see them so messed up that they couldnt even walk without help or guidance. One 8 year old girl had a large spot on her right eye that looked like a caterac. She could only see on the extreme sides. The last boy was probably blind and he did not communicate very well. The Drs. at the new AMOR hospital could not do anything for any of them. They do not have an eye Dr. I told Saraj that I would do what I could to get into Bagram today and see the Egyptian hospital team who helped Halima and all the other kids. I called President Wikle and asked him if he had any contacts inside of Bagram that could escourt me past all the checkpoints. He sent out an all call email and within 10 minutes I received two phone calls from Bagram, one was SGT Dunn and the other was a U.S. surgeon. They said they would do what they could.
We then left for an appointment with the Grandson of the former Afghanistan King. He greeted us and we had a nice conversation about apiece of property near Kabul that was available. He was nice but I did not get a good feeling about support from him. I felt like I was getting a run around.
My next visit was to USAID near the Embasy. That visit lasted 30 minutes and I learned what I already knew. They would not help. Apparently USAID is a self generating project system. Meaning they come up with the ideas of what they think needs to be built in Afghanistan and they then put out bids for projects. I was told that as good and great a need as an orphanage their government funded and run system of helping would not support a bottom up request. Oh well, our government at work.
My last item of the day was heading North to Bagram airbase. Enroute SGT Dunn called me and requested all our passport and ID numbers so he could fill out entry passes before our arrival. When we arrived at the Bagram Gate I was shocked to see how much had changed. Security has been increased several hundred percent. I then recieved a phone call from SGT Dunn who told me that his command got wind of what he and others were doing trying to get us in the gate and told them to stop and get back to work (their normal jobs). They were also told that they would not be authorized to come outside the gate (wire) and pick us up (a requirment). While they were working this problem out with their command an airforce security team came wondering out the gate and I approched them and jokenling said, are you my escourt inside? They said no and that I could not get in without a valid military I.D. I produced my I.D. and they said I did not need an escourt, take yourself and your guests in. I headed inside the security system and was stopped 5 different times for bag checks and body searches. I had to keep pushing my way into each security check point with difficulty each step. I was finaly stopped at the last point and could go no further without the help of SGT Dunn. He was able to swing something and he CPT Anderson a Black Hawk pilot, came to our rescue with badges.
Once inside we had to walk the nearly 2 mile stretch to the Egyptian hosptial. Once inside we contacted the Eye surgeon and showed him pictures and video of the two kids and was told they could hep. We made appointments for this Sunday at 9:00 at the Egyptian Gate for examination.
We then were pushing the 6:00 curfew when they shut down the gate so we quickly retraced our steps back out side. One of my interpreters previously asked if the rumor was true that there was a Burger King inside the base. I told him yes. He really wanted Burger King and we were in eye sight of Burger King but had to leave. He was so bumbed out. Once out side Bagram my interpreter turned to me and said "welcome to Afghanistan" meaning what a relief to get out of the security night mare we had just navigated. We did learn that all the helpicopter arrangements had changed completely since we left. All the Apaches were now on the opposite side of the airfield.
We declared our efforts a success and worth the extra effort with two more children getting an important chance of new eye sight.
Im back in my room needing to go to bed for a 5:00 wake up and head to the airport for an early departure.
See you Saturday at 10:00
I'm having quite the adventure over here. I have been taken under the wing of a war lord who says for some reason he like's me (for an American). I will have to tell you the story how he found me later. He has provided almost 24 hr security with two of his men around me all the time, they insist I grow a beard (tyring) and wearing man jamas (afgan clothes). I make them nervous because of the places I want to go and people to meet. I apparently dont understand how much danger of being kidnapped Im in. I'v been as far south as Wardak (active fighting region) and up to the top of Afghanistan in Baghlan staying over night in an Afghan mud brick compound. I thought I was just going to stay in Kabul but fate has a way of working things out, (go figure). I have one more adventurous day left meeting with family members of the old King of Afghanistan and then to the US Embasy (USAID, begging for money) and then heading up to Bagram air base to meet the Egyptian hospital staff (trying to arrange two more sugeries for kids) and then catching a flight in 36 hours for home. I land in Salt Lake about 10:00 am Saturday.
Layne Pace

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I was at Mom and Dad's house today when Dad called, so Mom put the phone on speaker phone. I thought I would write about what Dad said, if I can remember it all. It may be scatter brained, so be warned!
He was telling us about his main man Saraj (the man that is taking him everywhere he goes), and body gaurds. He never understood how Saraj was able to get about the area being able to pass security checks without having to stop, and many other benefits. Layne was talking with Kathleen at the hospital, and she just said, I think I should tell you about Saraj..... so this is the story with him. He was high ranking in the Taliban right after the Soviet Union left afghanistan, shortly there after he was put in the United States embassy in the states. Then the Taliban got power hungry and turned into what they are known as today (bad). When he started seeing how corrupt they were becoming, he left the organization. However he still has ties with high ranking individuals in the Taliban. Now he is a warlord and has many "followers". On wednesday Layne had asked Saraj if it was ok to go to Jegdelek, (the village that was adopted with Halema) So Saraj got on the phone and a few min. later said that it was not ok to go up that way, who he talked with we don't know, but Layne suspects high ranked members of the Taliban.
Lots of miracles are happining with the land. Somehow someone brought up some land they own, I believe it was a body guard. It was beautiful, but had been owned by the Kings family, So it was arranged for Layne to go visit the King of Afghanistan's family, which will happen thursday morning. He has grown a beard, and says all of his gray hairs are showing through his face, not his head. He is visiting the hospital that halema's eye surgery took place, which will be a long drive. I can't think of what else was said, and I apologize for the horrible writing techniques I used in this post. Next time will be better, I was just in a rush.
Bryce Pace
Dear Family

For those of you fearing for my safety, I am safely back from Baghlan after a night stay at Saraj Wadaks home. All I can say about the trip is it was the longest Disney Land ride Iv been on. I took pictures and video to share later. Im meeting with Naeem and Razia tomorrow morning at 10:00 am. At 2:00 I will be heading to Kalakhan with the Chief of the Palace Guards. I met him tonight and he said that anything I need he will deliver because Ahmad Shah Karimi saved his life and he owes him. He is a very pleasant man and excited to spend a few hours with him. I cant seem to shake my security team, they wont leave me alone for a minute. They are waiting downstairs in the lobby while I took a shower after this two day trip.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Just arrived at Pulakhmre Baghlan province. It took over 4 hours over Hindu kush mountains. We drove so fast I got an upset stomach after passing a police car who was going lights and siren. I feel like I just got into a space shuttle and went into orbit. We are staying at a very nice home in a fortress setting. I will see Saraj proposed orphanage site in the morning.
During our stay in wardak my 3 body guards became nervous that I would be discoverd as a foreigner. They asked me not to speak and only answer to Abdul. We left are safe. Got stopes by security check point wanting to know. Why I was in Wardak. In Kabul having afgan lunch meat and nan bread

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Arrived at wardak orphanage under desguise my new. Name is Abdul Wardak