Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Brief notes from Malogne House

I haven't written about visiting Malogne House the last two weeks, but I have been going there with some great supporters who are bringing more goodies and useful items each week. The lobby ends up packed with supporters, patients and family members and I try to be too many places at once. One of these days I might actually finish a story!

The pic is just of the table in the lobby. There's more "stuff" on the chairs and floor.

I spent quite some time trying again (3rd week) to talk to a Georgian (Republic of) soldier and his wife, but didn't get very far. They are so sweet! I'm going to get one of my Russian coworkers to translate some questions that I can either take to them, or email. I've found a lot of info about Lt. Kutateladze's battalion and the Georgian Army, but I know very little about Misha & Thea as people.

I saw Ken Karcher again. He was injured by an IED in Baghdad. His foot is still very painful from nerve damage, but his spirits seem good.

I met a kooky kid named Kevin Delozier from Georgia (USA) who was injured in Sadr City. He is a whiz in his wheelchair! The whole time we talked in the lobby he maintained a perfectly balanced wheelie. I kidded him that next week I wanted to see him taking the big staircase in it.

I have a special request from an Afghan interpreter named Khan for a warm jacket in medium. He was severerly injured while riding with U.S. Troops 3 years ago when a terrorist threw a grenade in the vehicle. He's doing very well, except he had damage to his left eye that couldn't be treated in Afghanistan. So someone pulled some strings and got him sent here for surgery. He's had two operations and now has his sight back! He's also been offered a job at Ft. Bragg as a translator (I think) and he's really psyched about staying here.

A few of us talked with Kevin Johnson who told us some startling facts about phone cards in Iraq. It seems that they lose between 50% to 80% of their value because the Iraqi or Military phone service is soooo expensive.

He said an alternative that is really good is SPAWAR. The site link I just found is here. Kevin said that the service isn't available everywhere, but that its definitely the best deal around. People can purchase minutes online that soldiers/Marines can use with a PIN that you receive. Might be something to promote.