Driving through Shorewood and Whitefish Bay, carefully dodging potholes in the pavement, one observes SUV's passing by and planes flying overhead. Children are playing in the streets. Over there, driving through towns one must be on the keen lookout for any discrepancy in the roadway. SUV's are passing by and planes are flying overhead. Children are in the streets.
Not too much of a difference right? Wrong. "Over there" is Afghanistan.
Our Range Rovers and Lexus RXs that are detailed at the first sign of dust, are replaced with High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles or humvees covered in Afghan sand.
The potholes we aim to avoid here could be a deadly roadway improvised explosive device or IED, on the roads of Kabul.
Planes flying overhead here are transporting passengers to and from business trips or vacations to luxurious locals. Planes flying overhead in Afghanistan are delivering much needed supplies and conducting reconnoissance missions.
Our children are playing in the streets. They are safe; laughing and smiling until a warm dinner and homework calls. Children in Afghanistan are playing through their rumbling tummies. Three out of every 10 children will die of starvation before they turn five. Most won't have homework as more than half of Afghan children will never attend school. Our children are taught to never speak, no less accept candy from strangers. Over there, children are taught to approach soldiers. They beg for candy, which the troops gladly pass out.
The differences couldn't be more night and day, or shocking. Yet "over there" is reality for the over 100,000 American troops stationed across Afghanistan. Their reality may be nearly 7,000 miles from ours, but it's our neighbors, sons and daughters, friends and family who are waking up each day in this "other" world. Risking their lives for ours.
So what's with this heavy column today, Sara? Why have you replaced your normal fluff with all this huff? Well, you may remember I went all Extreme Couponing on ya in article. I'm still at it and getting better by the haul. I realized that there are killer deals out there, but who really needs 15 toothpastes or 10 deodorants? I sure don't, so I started a search to find out who does.
I came across Adopt A US Solider, an amazing organization which provides care packages for the troops deployed in spots like Afghanistan. I immediately signed up and within a few days I was assigned a solider. Pretty neat, huh?
My soldier soon sent me an email where he said, "Some of my soldiers are living in harsh conditions far too harsh to mention specifically, but they are doing our nation's work to connect the people of Afghanistan to their government and this is not a task for the faint. I am very proud of them and would welcome anything that any of you would like to offer. I appreciate the idea that we have caring American citizens out there who care about what soldiers do. I can't think of any profession more gratifying than what I am doing and what our Soldiers are doing. Thanks so much in advance for your donations."
I can't spill any specifics about my adopted solider, but I can tell you that I'm very excited about sending him and his friends as many care packages as I can coupon up. I already have a nice stash started which includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, etc. I'm hoping to add some games, candy, sports doo-dads and other awesomeness to it as well.
This way I can help in my own little way and avoid becoming a stockpiling freak featured on Hoarders.
If you can spare some necessities and fun bits, I encourage you to check out AdoptAUSSolider.org. Let's all send a little shoreline to the desert sands.
If you have any questions or would like to contribute to my box o' goodies, please shoot me an email.