No trip to Pakistan is complete without the side trip to Afghanistan.  After all it is so close, why miss it with it's unique architecture, warm loving people and abundant fauna and flora.  Did I forget to mention outdoor sports?

From our location at Fort Freedom, we approached the border by going thru Parchinar and on thru Ali Mangal.  Ali Mangal in the early days of the Russie / Afghan war was a true wild west town.  Though on the Pakistan side of the border, there were few if any Pakistanis for some miles.  Only Afghanis, armed to the teeth.  There were stores packed to the ceilings with boxes of ammo for every weapon as well as grenades, mines and other vital camping equipment.  Sometime in the late 80s the Russies bombed it back to the proverbial stone age and it was not to my knowledge rebuilt.  Let our journey begin.

On the border, but I would guess still in Pakistan is a huge storage area for weapons awaiting the trip into Afgh.            Now this is truly Camelot.  More camels than I had previously thought existed.  A few loaded but others with empty wicker baskets yet to be loaded    Baskets of weapons waiting to be loaded on camels and taken inside.  The transportation is run by a group of nomads called Cuchis (sp).  The actually have an established rate per kilo to a particular destination.  At least amazing.            You can readily see the rocket canisters and ammunition.    This is what Ali Mangal looked like after being bombed (back) into the stone age.              One of the landmarks showing that you were indeed in Afgh.  Myself, Jerry Martone and Dr. Steve Murphy.  Nice day.                            Rough cut timber comin out of the "forests" of Afgh.    From the hardware this guy's packing, I'd say he's trail boss.                    Sort of the Afgh version of "84 lumber".                                           

Bob Brenner and I make a trip to one of the small communities to confirm our decision to soon make the Freedom Medicine Architectural Award of Excellence.  With so many wonderful homes to choose from, it's obviously going to be a difficult choice.

This lovely wall has been made of recycled materials.  So wonderful to see this.    A lovely modest bungalow.  Large windows to allow the summer light.    a few of the judges inspecting some of the wonderful homes.        Mr Ibrahim accepting the 'silver sword of excellence' for the nicest all around home in the neighborhood.    Unique way of saving space.  Hanging everyday items on hooks.    Bob and I visited a Commander in Jaji.  Simple but well appointed home.    Neighborhood group inspecting a lovely mountain retreat.        Discussing future landscaping plans for the area        Certainly lovely but needs the finishing touches.        Very well done home, with provisions for the family pets.    Basically lovely home but with no sense of landscaping.  Unacceptable.       

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've asked them to just keep the front yards free from unsightly items.  But my words seem to fall on deaf ears.  These homes won't be in the running for any awards this year.  Disgraceful not to mention very upsetting!

    Landscaping materials soon to be put to use.    Getting ready to plant a tree that will be a centerpiece of the lawn.        Finally removing a load of unsightly materials.  Nice job.   

Hunting and the out of doors is a major part of every Afghans life, so it's only natural for them to want to display their favorite sporting or hunting weapon.

                                                                    A monthly gathering of our bird watch group.  A light lunch was served after the meet    Good buddy Waheed Jon (Waheedula?) and Vaughn Forrest with toys.    Calling in a sighting on a rare bird    Our birdwatching clubhouse.  Simple but tastefully decorated    Getting a location on that last bird sighting.  I believe it was 3841 4489   


Odds and ends.



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