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Jeff's Afghan Diary: Captain Kirk
July 29, 2007

      We got a load of construction supplies today, thanks to our team chief, “Captain Kirk” (his chosen nickname – Trekkies of the world, unite!).  We had 4000 pounds of wood to unload: 2x4’s, 4x4’s, and lots of plywood.

      Construction projects actually take up a lot of our time around here.  Most of the wooden structures here were built by Soldiers, including ourselves.  We have small houses built by Soldiers, a small kitchen built by Soldiers, our shower, and lots of shelving units.  Soldiers usually don’t like to just sit around idle, so left to their own devices, give them some wood and they’ll probably build something with it.

      Soldiers aren’t the only ones doing construction on our FOB: we have hired a local contractor to do several small improvement projects, so on a typical day there will be a team of civilians building things around the base.  The most amazing thing to watch is when Afghans build a building out of stone; they take rocks and chip them into pieces that fit exactly together, making a structure which stands by itself, without mortar, in what looks to be perfect alignment.  They do this without any measuring, using only a hammer to break the rocks into pieces that fit neatly in a wall.  Inside the building, they will use mud to create a smooth surface inside.

      “Captain Kirk” spent almost two weeks at Bagram Air Force Base recently.  While he was there, he found loads of building supplies, which we would not have received otherwise.  He made arrangements to get them sent to us via UN helicopter.  It’s sad to think that we would never have received these supplies had he not been there for some unrelated business.

      All the same, now we’re planning to build ourselves some bunks in our hooch to replace our old cots.  We’ll need “Captain Kirk” to find us some mattresses now!  “Boldly going where no Army Captain has gone before, in search for intelligent life on other FOBs” will be part of his mission.  Too bad he can’t take us all along!

-- Jeff Courter

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and Executive Director of
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).  
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here.
God and Science (Hypertext Edition, 2005).
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion:
Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).

Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.  

For more information about Charles Henderson.