The people, the people, the people

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Written by U.S. Army Pfc. Roy Mercon, Task Force Wolverine Public Affairs Wednesday, 02 June 2010 12:53

 

BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Staff Sgt. Peter Ladensack, a Soldier attached to the Delaware Embedded Training Team, part of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, plays with a baby during a visit to an orphanage in Bamyan Province, May 26. The Delaware ETT and the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team delivered and assembled bunk beds for the orphanage, and gave out clothing, toys and stuffed animals to the kids. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Roy Mercon, Task Force Wolverine Public Affairs)BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The Maori people of New Zealand have a saying: “he tangata, he tangata, he tangata,” or, literally “the people, the people, the people.”  In Bamyan, Afghanistan, New Zealand Army Maj. Kevin P. Brophy can’t keep the phrase out of his mind.

The Padre of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team has a natural need to help people, as is expected of all chaplains. A resident of Taranaki, New Zealand, Brophy’s main job is to facilitate the emotional and spiritual needs of the coalition forces at Kiwi Base, located in the capital district of the province.  

 

When not providing services for Kiwi, American or Singaporean Soldiers, Brophy has one major concern on his plate: a small orphanage, which he took under his wing with the help of Coalition Forces.

“It’s not like our arms are pulled here,” said Brophy, “But, one look at the kids, and it becomes impossible to look the other way.”

Brophy made the Samir Samad orphanage, which services around 65 displaced kids, his pet project while he completes his six-month tour of duty here.  He and the NZPRT visited the orphanage on several occasions to bring the orphans much needed supplies. In this most recent visit, the Kiwis, with the help of the American Embedded Training Team brought bunk beds, clothing and toys to the kids.

When the Kiwis came to the school, driving up-armored SUVs, the kids dropped everything they were doing and ran out to greet them. Most were in school, which brought a scolding from the teachers. What mattered more than school to the orphans were the potential surprises the NZPRT was bringing today.

The older children assisted the Kiwis who unloaded the pieces needed to construct the beds. The younger kids ran around the Soldiers involved with other tasks; some Soldiers being pulled by small hands to various parts of the orphanage. One child excitedly pointed at his home country on a map, then pointed to New Zealand, showing where he was, and where his help had come from.

With the help of the older kids, the Kiwis and the Americans built only one bunk-bed outside the orphanage. This was a classic example of the ‘give a man a fish, and he will have food for a day. But teach a man to fish, and he will have food forever’ doctrine that Brophy likes to use during his work in Bamyan. The orphanage learned how to build their own beds, allowing for future repairs and construction without the help of Coalition Forces.

With one child clinging to the Padre with tears in his eyes, begging the man not to go, the NZPRT and the American ETT waved good-bye to the children. Their job was done this day. But this will not be the last time the Kiwis and U.S. Forces will grace the orphanage with their presence.  A major kitchen-remodeling project is in the works, and an exposed wire burial project is in the near future.
 
The Padre put it best when he said that it isn’t the missions or patrols that one goes on that he remembers the most. It’s the people, the people, the people.

 

 BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Maj. Kevin Brophy, the Padre (Chaplain) for the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team, swings with a little girl during a visit to her orphanage May 26. The New Zealand PRT brought and assembled bunk beds for the orphanage, and gave out clothing and toys to the kids. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Roy Mercon, Task Force Wolverine Public Affairs)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Maj. Kevin Brophy, the Padre (Chaplain) for the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team, swings with a little girl during a visit to her orphanage May 26. The New Zealand PRT brought and assembled bunk-beds for the orphanage, and gave out clothing and toys to the kids. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Roy Mercon, Task Force Wolverine Public Affairs)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Staff Sgt. Peter Ladensack, a member of the Delaware Embedded Training Team, part of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, shows local children the proper way to assemble a bunk bed during a visit to an orphanage in Bamyan Province, May 26. Soldiers with the Delaware ETT, as well as Soldiers from New Zealand delivered bunk beds, clothing, notebooks, stuffed animals and toys during the visit. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Roy Mercon, Task Force Wolverine Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 June 2010 09:54