Sean was able to call my parents from his patrol post in Afghanistan to give them an update yesterday afternoon. It looks like he’s been getting our packages faster if we have the post office mark them “perishable.”
With the two boxes he just got from Mom and Dad, he was able to have the first good meals he’s had in awhile: beef tacos (complete w/ mushrooms and real Babybel cheese) and Cap’n Crunch.
Chris and I have sent three packages that have yet to arrive. The first box was the one that contained the hats that I made for his buddies, the second had some makings for quesadillas (even found real bacon to include), Girl Scout cookies and some general hygiene products and the last box included some more random foods we take for granted like Mac ‘N Cheese and Progresso soup along with a mountain of baby wipes and Starbursts.
I can only imagine the hardships that he’s experiencing overseas. Because his unit’s been constantly on the move, they haven’t had the regular showers that the guys at the base get. Instead, they rely on products like baby wipes to take off the most recent layer of sweat and dust. The one opportunity that my brother got to have a real shower ended up being disastrous.
Most Americans probably don’t realize the extreme cold that the troops have been weathering in Afghanistan and with the makeshift shower that was constructed, when Sean finally got the chance to avail himself of the shower, he got about 5 seconds of hot water before being blasted with nearly freezing water. Doesn’t seem like all that huge a predicament, just an inconvenience really, until you take into account the fact that my brother’s been dealing with severe weather condition over there, and the fact that he’s a really lanky fellow with NO insulation. It took him nearly four hours to get his body temperature back up into the safe zone. Since then, he’s sworn off all showers, hence the continued importance of baby wipes.
He also endured a bout of dysentery recently that was most likely contracted through his unit’s purchase of some local fowl and he’s been the witness of some terrible injuries within his group. I can’t express the relief of hearing him tell us that he’s safe and unscathed each time he gets the opportunity to call home.
Yesterday marked his 3-year anniversary with the Corps, so he’s got exactly one year left of active duty. As much as we’re looking forward to his return stateside, his anticipation of that same event most likely can’t be measured.