20 October 2007
Yesterday I decided to go for a late afternoon run around the base. My route goes for about five to six miles. My run takes me around the runway on the far western part of the base and then parallel to the runway and makes a turn around the eastern end. When I started to make my turn around the eastern end of the runway I looked across the dusty field just beyond the perimeter fence and noticed a small group of kids running around. However, the thing that caught my eye was a bright orange soccer ball being kicked around by those young boys. The evening was getting close and I didn’t have time to run back to my room to get my camera but I made a mental note of what time it was and decided to come back again today to get some pictures. Early this evening I made my way up to the nearest guard tower where I could best position myself get some photos. I was grinning from ear to ear! All I could think of was “Look what all of you have done!” What an amazing sight. Right in front of my eyes were the fruits of your labor! Can you believe it? All I could do was smile.
You can see part of the runway in the background. The boys are playing just outside of the fence and having a great time!
I thought back on the past few weeks and tried to remember who I’d given an orange soccer ball to. I remember getting the bright orange soccer balls in the mail but I couldn’t remember giving one out. I asked the other Maintenance Test Pilot (Bob) if he’d given one out and he said he did. There was a bunch of kids who had come to the hospital and one of the medics I told about the soccer balls came over to my office and asked Bob if he could have a few soccer balls for the kids that were there. I’m so glad that he did. What a wonderful blessing it is to see these kids playing in the field and having a good time.
There hasn’t been much soccer playing outside the fence for the past few weeks because of Ramadan, but now that it’s over the kids are playing outside just about every evening. Thank you everyone! However, please remember that I’m ending OSC at the end of this month. This means that I’ve stopped asking for additional soccer balls to be sent to me. Please contact me if you have a special request and I’ll try to see if we can work something out. As of now, I estimate that I have about 500 soccer balls to give out. I have made arrangements to ensure that the soccer balls will be distributed. So please don’t think that they’ll end up in the garbage or anything like that. There has been so much support in this project. Thank you everyone for your time and energy in making this so much fun for us! The money you’ve raised to send the soccer balls, the time you take to mail them and the letters and cards you write are a wonderful treat to all of us.
In the most sincerest way to say it…Thank You!
3 October 2007
Hi OSC fans, it’s Nicole this time sharing with you an email that Princeton sent to me this morning. It’s my birthday and he gave me the best gift ever. I’ll let him tell it:
***Earlier today I was walking to my “office” when I noticed that there were a few kids hanging around the hospital. I talked to this one medic guy named George who I’ve seen before but not really met. I think he’s from a different country because he never wears a uniform and he’s always dressed in khakis. He has a European accent and a huge beard. I talked to him about giving away soccer balls and he invited me to go with him next time he goes out. I accepted his offer and told him where to find me when he goes out again. We’ll see how that works out. I showed him how many soccer balls I had to give away and he asked me for one to give to a little boy he knew. I gave him one. I then walked to the hospital and asked how many kids were there. They said four. Two little boys were standing outside. The two boys already saw me open the ISU container when I gave George a soccer ball. When I looked at them they knew that I was going to give them a soccer ball. They started talking to me in Pashto and I knew what they were saying to me. I opened the ISU and dumped the balls on the ground. I told them that they could have one ball each. You can see the smile on their faces. They were so happy. The little boy couldn’t figure out which ball he wanted. He kept picking up one, dropping it then picking another. He was overwhelmed. Even though they couldn’t understand me, I told them anyway…
“Today is my wife’s birthday. I didn’t give her a gift, but today I’m giving you a gift as if I’m giving it to her. Today her birthday present is a soccer ball to each of you”.
After that I went back to the hospital to give the other two kids a soccer ball as well. They were very happy to get them. I’m so glad I have these soccer balls to give them. Thank you for helping me get them over here. I was right when I said that I didn’t have to drop them from a helicopter to make kids happy, just getting these kids a soccer ball makes them plenty happy enough.***
Seeing his smiling face is all the birthday present I could ever ask for. Thank you so much to all of you who have helped with this project. Without your generosity in sending soccer balls, none of this could happen.