Friday, May 30, 2008

Starting to Settle In

Well, I've been at my PRT for about three weeks now and it's definitely been a great time. I've seen a lot and been around to the all seven districts in Panjshir. It's a beautiful country with many beautiful people, but it's definitely an isolated area that has seen 30 years of war and destruction. I've seen so much in the last three weeks, that's its tough to put it all down. I'll try to update this more often and give more details about what is going on here. But for now, suffice it to say that I've been doing a lot of meeting and greeting and work with some local community leaders to better understand the various needs in the area and how I can work with these leaders to help them solve their own situations.

But as for Panjshir, it's a great place to be and work. The security here is great, there aren't bombs going off every night and I have a general freedom of movement. That is very helpful for my work and I've been able to do a lot of things that other USAID people in other provinces can't do.

Panjshir was created three years ago and carved out a neighboring province. It's the third smallest province at 6645 square kilometers and est. 130,000 population divided into seven districts (counties). It has an elevation of between 5500 - 9500+ feet. Needless to say it is very mountainous with lots of rock. Reminds people of New Mexico with the mountains and red/purple colored rocks.

The Panjshir river runs up the valley and provides the majority of irrigation, drinking and power (hydro) for the province. We are very blessed up here to have so much water compared to a lot of other regions, but there is very little flat land that isn't in a floodplain and being an agriculturally based society, people here aren't able to do much beyond sustenance farming.

Well, that's a basic run down. I'll get everyone more later. Enjoy yourself.

Bringing Masha with me on a trip (our wedding photo)

Someone say ROOF!!!

Shaking Hands with the Provincial Governor

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