Afghanistan. My soldier "The Hubs" is still there, part of a medical team that provides trauma care for the soldiers and locals. These Forward Surgical Teams work day and night under conditions that are hard for most to comprehend. Yet, the Internet has done much to provide a glimpse. In addition to email and the occasional chance to Skype, we have photos to drive their stories home in ways that mere words cannot.
Winter has hit in the Hindu Kush. It's getting dark, wet, and cold. The region described in the classic travel book A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush by Eric Newby has been marked by wars, but this much is probably the same.
"...where the mountains seemed like the bones of the world breaking through, I had the sensation of emerging from a country that would continue to exist more or less unchanged whatever disasters overtook the rest of mankind."
Though the days are short, work is always at hand.
Children make up a large number of the patients who are seen in their clinic (held daily) for locals. Eighty percent are under the age of twelve. The children come in sick or wounded. They are war's smallest victims, getting sick from the elements or malnutrition, suffering from severe burns caused by cooking accidents, or needing trauma care for injuries caused by IEDs.
Here, a young boy is rushed into the FST accompanied by a medical team and his father. The boy has suffered serious burns and will be initially treated here, then flown to a bigger air base with a hospital with more facilities. The father will stay with him throughout – in this case probably all winter and into the spring. The little boy and his father will not be sent home until the boy is ready.