Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Chai Tea, Mud Huts, Villages With No Names:

Be Part of the Team

This war will be won over glasses of chai tea, in mud huts, in villages with names we cannot pronounce. - K. Henry"

Team Accepts Donations
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

GODE, Ethiopia, April 22, 2006 – Ethiopian families in this rain-starved region are just barely surviving, and conditions stand to worsen as the drought in the area continues.
A team from the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion based here, though, has projects in mind that can help bring about changes, but just need a bit of startup money.

"We have a women's group that has a sound plan in place to farm sections near the river," said Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Starbuck, team sergeant. "All it will take is about $1,000 to get them what they need."

Medicines are another need. The team has refurbished a clinic in Gode, but there are no medicines. The team could buy medicines for the clinic from local sources, if funds were available.

And the Ethiopian children are just mad about soccer. "Everywhere we go, the kids ask us for soccer balls," said Staff Sgt. Terangelo Davis, the team engineer. "I would love to be able to give them some."

The team covers a region the size of Connecticut, and receives mail and supplies from its home base at the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa in Djibouti every two weeks.

To help the people of Gode, send the team donations in care of Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Starbuck, E Company, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, APO AE 09363. Clearly mark packages or envelopes as "Civil Affairs Donations."

The BBC says this about Ethiopia

The overthrow of the junta in 1991 saw political and economic conditions stabilise, but not enough to restore investors' confidence. This was dealt a further blow with the war with Eritrea in the late 1990s, which left tens of thousands of people dead.

A fragile truce has held, but the UN warns that ongoing disputes over the demarcation of the border threaten peace.

Ethiopia is one of Africa's poorest states. Its people are almost two-thirds illiterate. The economy revolves around agriculture, which in turn relies on rainfall.

Many Ethiopians depend on food aid from abroad. In 2004 the government began a drive to move more than two million people away from the arid highlands of the east in an attempt to provide a lasting solution to food shortages.

Other Mud Huts and Villages:

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Medical Marines from Task Force Lava kicked off a medical civic assistance program in Kunar Province on April 21.

Medical care was given to about 700 Afghan men on the program’s first day, with women and children receiving care beginning April 22.

The program, which is scheduled to continue through April 29, provides cost-free treatment to the province’s people. Many people in the mountainous rural northeastern province have only sporadic access to health care.

“Most of the people in remote provinces like Kunar have to travel miles and miles, sometimes across international borders, in order to receive medical treatment,” said Army Maj. Eric P. Zenk, TF Spartan public affairs officer. “Many people in Kunar haven’t seen a doctor or a nurse in months or years. This is a terrific opportunity for them to receive good health care in a timely, convenient manner.

The medical program is another sign of the growing partnership between the Afghan people and Coalition troops, Zenk said.

“This area was once known as a terrorist haven,” he said. “The progress is very heartening.”

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