The Movement On Own Feet - Centipede

Go to content

Another contingent in Logar, Afghanistan, took over the Centipede projects

Project with Czech Army - Afghanistan

On August 20, 2010, the last part of soldiers of the 5 contingent returned home. Soldiers from the 6 contingent that will continue with the realisation of common projects of the Centipede and the Czech Army, started to work in Logar. Further Centipede diary and photos will be done by Lt. Miroslav Tomiczek.


December 7, 2010
Photo of the week – Cemetery
The picture you are looking at was taken close to the Shamsheri Kala Village in Kherwar district. There is cemetery in it. Birth is (similarly to death) a part of a man’s life and is being honoured here. This place will say nothing to us at the beginning… but it is on the contrary later on. The stones laid at the graves show if the buried person was a man or a woman. Other sing is a scarf on the grave, meaning that the man died as a fighter… there are many of graves like this here.

December 6, 2010
Today we will have a look at some basic phrases that even we use here, mainly during the first contact with the local people. Of course, after these words, we let the conversation to our interpreters who can do much better.




What is your name?

Nome chast?

Nome cheest?

My name is Mirek.

Nomem Mirek hast.

Nómem Mirek ust.

Where are you from?

Azkungo haste?

Uzcundyo hustee?

I am from the Czech Republic.

Az Czech hastoom.

Uz Chech hustoom.

December 5, 2010
Today, we visited Baraki Barak district and its governor who invited us for dinner. Even if it was a working dinner, it was not an ordinary meeting, but a social event. For me, it was also a very pleasant change from the ready-to-cook menu. For dinner, we had rice with chicken meat, beans and bread. Only Pepsi is not a traditional Afghan drink… After dinner, we had fruits, mandarins and tea.
The governor told us about the history of the village. The monument in the photo resembles a sad story that happened during the Soviet invasion. Near this place, in a hard accessible valley, the Soviet troops fought hard with the Afghan fighters (mujahedins). Some of them were captured by the Soviets and executed. After the Soviets left the country, the monument with the names of the heroes was raised.

December 1, 2010
The last day before the regular changing of the remote groups of soldiers that operate in Kherwar district, the expected football international match between the USA and Czech Republic took place. The playground was marked on the heliport; bags filled with sand marked the goals. After a huge fight, the Czech team won 10:4. We need not to be ashamed for the result, especially considering the climate conditions of the match. It was played in the altitude of 2metres… and above that – the sides were not changed during the break, so the Czech team had to run up all the time !! During the construction of the heliport, it was not possible to make it in flat, so there is a difference in the height of the opposite parts. The match strengthened the ties between the Czech and the Americans and helped to forget everyday hustles of the life in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there were loses on both sides. During one of the fights, the ball got out of the playground and hit the camera of one of the keen photographers who had to throw it away in the end. Luckily enough, the pictures stayed on the memory card… After the match, the strength of the Czech team showed up when every player contributed to the disappointed guy to buy a new camera. According to our latest news, new camera has been purchased already, much more resistant this time.

November 27, 2010
Every boy who played soldiers when he was young will remember that one of the main knowledge of a successful fighter is to stay invisible as long as possible. To come as close to the enemy as possible without him noticing it and after that suddenly appear on an unexpected place. Of course, we do not want to be seen during our patrols and that is why we try to use the countryside so that we would be as hidden as possible. During our patrols on foot, we especially like “vadi”… these are dried out rover basins that fill with water only during rainy season or floods. They look different. They might be up to 6 metres deep and very steep or on the opposite – very wide, sometimes even tens of metres. Sometimes it is quite difficult to cross a “vadi” with all the heavy equipment, stepping it up and down again and again. It is like being on a roller coaster and one gets really tired, looking forward the trip to come to the end.

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving the American holiday celebrated every fourth Thursday in November. It is a celebration of crop and thanks at the end of the harvest. The traditional symbols of thanksgiving are turkey, corn, pumpkin and cranberry sauce.
The origin of the holiday is connected with the destiny of the European settlers that settled in the area of Massachusetts state in 1620s. As the ship from Europe came in November, the settlers did not have time enough to get food for winter. Half of them did not survive the first year. In spring 1621 the settlers became friends with the Iroquois Indian tribe who taught them how to grow plants. The harvest of 1621 was celebrated together with the Indians and the settlers kept this habit after.
We celebrated Thanksgiving at the Shank base together with American colleagues. For our Czech soldiers it was a day like every other one at the beginning… well there was one significant change, in our canteen !! It was decorated, there were new tablecloths on the tables and the canteen was full of American stripes and stars and many other symbols of the holiday.
The only problem was the very long queue to the canteen. Everybody had to queue, but we were OK with it. There was sun in the sky, so we could even get a little suntan ;o) White faces got coloured and… and a Czech proverb says “He who waits gets everything in the end”.
… and here we are in the canteen! We did not know where to look first or eat first. There were so many things that we were not sure if our plates were big enough. Of course, the turkey was there. Everybody loved it and I wish you could see us all. We all had a very nice time and will remember this day for long.

November 23, 2010
Photo of the week – Tree
The winner of the photo of this week is a huge tree in the Yargol Kala village, Kherwar district. Our soldiers together with their American colleagues try to help and assist in this part of the country. I chose the picture of a big tree dominating the whole village as a certain analogy to this country. The tree is half dry thanks to the climate that is very demanding to all fauna and flora here. On the other side, looking at the other half of the tree, one can see that it is possible to survive in these extreme conditions. You can see it even on the local people that consider the life they live here as normal.

November 22, 2010
In today’s vocabulary we will have a look at some colours that have important meaning for all Afghan people. These are the colours of the Afghan national flag. In this form, the flag has been recognised since 2004; the colours were used on the flag in 1928 already. The first one – black – means the dark times, red symbolises the fight and war and green means victory, freedom and independence. The last one – white – is the most important colour for the Muslims and symbolises Islam. That is why the national emblem in the centre of the red field is white.
















November 20, 2010
The 6th contingent of the Czech provincial reconstruction team has reached half of its operational task; it has been more than four months since our arrival here. During that time, we have not forgotten friends and all of those who support not only us, but local children. Before our departure, we contacted schools in Ostrava (Elementary school and kindergarten Dvorského 1 in Ostrava – Bělský les and Elementary school Nádražní 117, Ostrava – Moravská Ostrava) with the request to help and they did not deny it. They have organised collections and gathered lots of pencils, crayons, notebooks and other stuff, including some artistic gifts.
We organised the meeting with the pupils and thanked them in the name of the Afghan children for their assistance. It is very nice when children can help other children. It can seem that the presents are only small things… but seeing the big smiles on the children´s faces, one can be sure that the things are NOT small. We took some pictures too and handed them to the children immediately; this was a huge success. The presents from the schools were handed over mainly in Kherwar district. This district is in the very South of the Logar province and Czech PRT cooperates with the American colleagues here. We are mostly interested in supporting education, government and sharing information with local people. At the moment, the school time is over here and the children will leave for winter holidays. The length of the holidays depends on the climate (the altitude in Kherwar is 2Winter is very rough here and influences school a lot; sometimes the holidays can last until March.
Once again, I would like to thank to the above-mentioned schools for their help. There are some photos attached from the “handing over patrols”.

November 16, 2010
It is the second biggest holiday of the Muslim (so basically of all of the inhabitants of the Logar province), Eid al Adhá. This day is dedicated to prophet Ibrahim who was willing to sacrifice his son; in the end he sacrificed the wether. That is why lots of sheep is being killed on this day. The family gathers around table for a prayer. The leftovers are given to the poor.
We decided to go by the main road from the border with the Kabul province in the North to the South to the border with Paktia. We visited our colleagues from the Afghan National Police who do not celebrate and have to work. We brought them presents, for them and their children. The policemen were very happy to see us; and the presents will please their relatives, for sure. Over a cup of tea, we talked about our habits during Christmas.

November 15, 2010
Most of the soldiers here in Logar serve in the 71 mechanised battalion in Hranice. And two schools, namely school in Hranice and Drahotuš decided to help to the children in Logar. They organised financial collection and gather lots of school things. The most important is to use the collection (both financial and material) as effective as possible.
During one of our last patrols in the Khoshi district we visited also the school for girls in Hasani Basri. The director of the school told us that they would need English vocabularies for their English lessons. We knew we would be visiting the place again in about two weeks; that is why we bought the books and brought them on our next visit, together with a couple of books of fairy tales that we received from our American colleagues on the base.

November 14, 2010

Today, new group of soldiers in the Czech uniforms arrived to FOB Shank. These are the members of the contingent to come… and it is the sign that our mission started its second half. Among the soldiers is also Tomáš who will be here with us for more than a week and will learn from us about what we do here. This will help him with the preparations and real start of his mission. Every visit is a very nice change that brings not only new information, but also some great things to eat. You might be surprised what we ordered: bread, unbelievable Czech bread that we have been missing for four months already. I would love to send a picture of it to you, but we finished it so quickly that nobody could take a picture before that… and the photographer would not take a risk in losing time while taking pictures.

November 11, 2010

Photo of the week – on the Patrol

We have the silhouette of the guarding tower in our sight every evening and it would be pity not to share it with you. There is a “tourist sign” near it where our friends marked names of their cities and the distance to their home. Even if the signs aim the same direction, every one of them has a different story.

November 10, 2010

In today’s language course we will learn more about medical care in Afghanistan. But at first, a short introduction to the medical practice in Logar.

There are four basic levels of medical care here:

  • A village nurse is a trained nurse (both male and female) that can do basic treatment and diagnosis of the common diseases or injuries. He/she is something like a village healer, has no medical education and treats patients at home. This way of medical care was really common in Afghanistan some time ago; today, there are almost none of the village nurses anymore.

  • Basic medical centre is in every Logar district. There are 2-5 centres like this here. It is able to treat common diseases and subscribe basic medicaments. The personnel consist of one or two doctors and medical assistants. Being a doctor does not mean studying medicine, but visiting special courses in the clinics that are supported from abroad.

  • General health clinic has a larger space and is better equipped than the basic medical centre. It also has more qualified personnel. Usually, there is a delivery room too. In Logar, medical centres are being transferred to the general health clinics.

  • Hospital is an even higher level. There are two district hospitals in Logar province in Mohammad Agha and Baraki Barak and one main hospital in Pol-e Alam. The staff of the hospital consists of several qualified doctors, diagnostic equipment such as X-ray, lab etc. All three hospitals were reconstructed recently, also with the help of the Czech PRT. PRT also delivered 7 ambulance cars to these hospitals.

  • Pharmacies are in every larger village and in the hospitals. People, who have money, can buy medicaments; a French NGO arranges the delivery.



















I have a headache.
My hand is aching.

Sar ni man dart me-ko-nad.
Dast ni man dart me-ko-nad.

sur neemun durt makhonud
dust neemun durt makhonud

November 6, 2010
After yesterday’s preparation we went off to an elementary and high school in Pol-e Qandahari. The DINGO vehicle is not very friendly for getting in, but it is very safe for the trip. In the school, we met Mr. Mohammed Anwar, deputy director of the school. Mr. Anwar was very friendly and he allowed us to visit one of the classes. It was a class for boys of age around 15. Mrs. Běla asked all the boys what they would like to become in future. It took quite a time as there were 45 boys, but we hear very interesting things like – pilot, mule, teacher or soldier. We left some notebooks, and crayons with the logo “Airplane full of crayon, airplane full of love”. This box was sent from the elementary school in Liptál, Czech Republic. We thank especially to the school in Liptál and all the others who contributed to the help in Afghanistan. THANKS!

Ten years of a successful cooperation of the Centipede and the Army of the Czech Republic was confirmed by signing the Memorandum of Understanding of the President of the Movement Mrs. Běla and Minister of Defence H.E. Mr. Alexandr Vondra. It was very symbolic as the ceremony took place in Afghanistan where the Centipede projects carried out.

The days on the FOB Shank base, the home of the Provincial Reconstruction Team pass really fast. After three days the time has come to say good-bye and wish a safe trim. Don’t worry, we will stay for longer and go on with the help to local children and adults… and also with the Centipede diary.

November 5, 2010

For some of the soldiers, the day off on Friday begins traditionally with a church service, performed by the chaplain in the local chapel. As we commemorated All Souls Day on November 2, today’s service was dedicated to the memory of our deceased.

Before lunch, we went around the shops of local sellers. Every woman likes jewellery and Mrs. Běla tried some of them on.

In the afternoon, we showed the base to Mrs. Běla. We overlooked it from uphill so that we could see the whole base and its surroundings. We could not walk around it all, it would take us three days.
Before every patrol there is a command, the chief of patrol gives out specific tasks to every member of patrol. Before the departure, checking of the vehicles is the most important. It is important for us to know when we leave, which vehicle we take and who will take care of our security during the meeting. The chief of tomorrow’s patrol is Lt. Jan R. He showed to Mrs. Běla the vehicles that will be used tomorrow and she could “touch” them by herself.

November 4, 2010
In the morning, we went to the heliport to wait for the helicopters from Kabul. Immediately after the arrival the introduction about behaving on the base and the accommodation took place. The VIP room is 2 by 2 meters large and has a bed and a chair. However, the jet lag and the long journey make this room a luxury.
Mrs. Běla really pleased us all very much with the presents she brought. Among them there was a huge Centipede from the Norwegian children and traditional Czech food that made it through the transportation from home. We especially loved the apple strudel, made by Mrs. Sýkorová, a good friend of Mrs. Běla. I will not lie saying that this was the best desert I ever had. We have a good choice of muffins, donuts and cakes, but this was something extra special. We were really busy all day through and that is why we had the strudel in the evening, with a cup of good coffee. I would love to thank to Mrs. Sýkorová in the name of everybody here for bringing a nice family atmosphere and thanks to this enabling to forget about the difficulties we face 4 thousand kilometres from home.
Today in the evening, Col. Johnson, chief of the US troops on the FOB Shank base, accepted the invitation of Mrs. Běla for a short meeting. Col. Johnson cooperated with the Centipede already during the presence of the 5 contingent in the Logar province, among others also on the project “Afghan talent”. He was the member of the jury that was choosing the winning paintings.

Col. Johnson wrote a short but beautiful message that does not need any comment.

November 3, 2010
Following days will be full of important visits. The president of the movement “On Own Feet” Mrs. Běla Jensen will visit the FOB Shank base and will spend 3 days here. On Saturday, Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Alexandr Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic H.E. Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg together with the Chief of the General Staff Army General Vlastimil Picek and other significant guests will visit our base.

October 31, 2010
Photo of the week – Before the storm
A cloud is accumulation of little water drops or ice cubes in the air. Fog can also be a cloud. The system becomes visible when the water drops and ice cubes reflect, disperse and leak the light. The clouds move constantly… out of this one, there was a huge storm. It was interesting that there were huge lightnings, but one could not hear a thunder.

October 30, 2010
In our regular lessons of dari we bring you the numbers from zero to ten. You can argue that you have two hands and ten fingers… you are right, you can show the with your hand to the vendor in the market, but knowing the numbers belong to the basics:





































October 28, 2010
During our last visit to the local department of the Afghan National Police (ANP) I took with me also a packet of oil in spray. The climate in Afghanistan is very unfriendly to weapons and to ensure their safe functioning, regular cleaning is necessary. The dust that is everywhere here gets to the tiniest hidden places and the weapon can get stuck in the most inappropriate moment, during the fire. Ten sprays of oil that I took with me, can seem not many, but our colleagues appreciate even the smallest help from us.

October 25, 2010
To our strongest experiences here belongs meeting with the shura and having lunch with its members. First I would like to tell you what shura is. Well, it is basically the local council that consists of the elderly/seniors of the village or town. They gather to solve wellbeing of the municipality or simply problems among its members. I had the chance to take part in the special shura gathering together with my American colleagues that was organised by the sub-governor of the Kherwar district. All the elderly took part in the meeting.
Because of the work I could not be at the meeting from the beginning. From my colleagues I found out that the gathering begins with a prayer. After this, the oldest person starts with his speech; in this case it was the sub-governor. Any of the members can say his opinion to the issues discussed. I joined the meeting in this part. I was truly wondering that nobody interrupted anybody, even if he spoke for more than ten minutes. I was really surprised with this as I am used to hear much arguing and interrupting during our meetings with the Afghans. The truth is that the higher level a person is the fewer of these bad habits the person has. And the district shura on the level of the sub-governor is a matter of prestige. It is similar to the meeting of our mayors on the level of municipality. A European could be surprised that there was no furniture in the meeting room. Everybody is sitting on the floor covered with carpet and the pillows. Only the speaker is standing so that everybody can see him.
After about two hours, tea and biscuits were served. I was really pleased as I like tea prepared by the Afghans very much and I have never tasted biscuits like this before. As soon as the tea was finished, everybody went outside the building; there were bowls with water for them to wash their hands. It is useless to talk about the cleanliness of the water… the closest water tap is at one of the military bases. After this kind of hygiene we went back to the tents. There were plastic tablecloths already on the floor and we sat down.

When we took our places, our hosts started to serve the food… on the floor. In front of every couple of senior members of shura, there was a big bowl of rice with a couple of large pieces of goat or mutton and yellow gravy. Everything was covered with a large piece of bread. Everybody took his food either by hands or with the spoons. I chose the spoon as the distance between the plate and my mouth seemed too long not to loose half of the food on the way. The local people are handier in this regard, of course. They are able to tear a piece of bread, wrap rice and meet in it and eat it in a minute. I realised immediately that there was no problem with a bit of rice here and there that fell off. Anyway, I better took the spoon and ate bread with it separately. The taste of the food was – how to say – neutral, maybe a bit more sweet, with fruit touch (as if apples were in it). I appreciated that the food was not too spicy as I do not like it (unfortunately, in our American canteen one cannot avoid this kind of food). I was really eager to taste the meet. Pork is forbidden here… but there are a lot of goats and sheep around here. During my lunch experience, I excluded beef after the first bite; beef does not taste like this. It was nice that the meet was not smelly (those who know Russian shaslik, know what I am talking about). Until now, I do not know what we were eating, but it was delicious. We had apples for desert. Everybody took their knife out of their pockets and cut the apple in pieces. Nobody cared what to do with the leftovers ;o) after lunch, there was a big pile in front of every eater…
It might be a bit difficult to understand for some of us, but one has to keep in mind that we live in a different culture and some habits are quite normal. This is the traditional way of eating and we simply have to cope with it. If any of the Afghanis would come to our homes, we would seat him to the table… well, some signs of globalisation in the end – not only Afghan tea was served, but also Pepsi and Mountain Dew. After lunch shura was over and the participants left for home.

October 23, 2010
Today, we visited school in Gowmaran village. We delivered new desks and blackboards here recently and we wanted to see if the children use them. This school is one of the Centipede schools here. We brought a lot of the school material that was sent by the children from the Czech Republic. The children also sent their pictures that will be use to decorate this school. It will look more joyful and every picture will please anybody who looks at it.
It was a sunny day and we were welcomed really sincerely. Unfortunately, the director of the school could not welcome us, but the teachers were very eager to see us. They all were very happy about the school things we had brought and promised to hand them out equally to all the pupils. As the examination period is coming, the best students will also be awarded with the presents from the Czech friends. The teachers simply loved the pictures and promised that their children will paint some pictures too and will send them over. We went to see the children too. They studied hard and pleased us all by singing the Afghan anthem. They sang very beautifully. We left the school with a great feeling as the mood was perfect during our whole stay.
And all this was thanks to you, children and parents, who gathered this collection of school material or gave any other material or financial assistance. Thanks to you all who have not condemned the Afghans…

October 20, 2010
The life in the countryside is as fast as the one in Europe a hundred years ago. The children who are not that lucky to have a school nearby their homes have to go early in the morning to graze the cattle or to work with their parents in the field. The work is really hard as there are only a few machines here. Most of the work is done manually, by hands. Seeding, harvesting, ploughing, everything. Somebody has a little tractor, but there are not many of them.
Sometimes the farmers join together and found agricultural cooperative… most of these do have a tractor. Well, one cannot imagine a huge “John Deer” style tractor that manages to plough 12 rows at one time. There aren’t fields that large here and the tractors here are not the latest models, they are more likely like vintage cars or old-timers. If you ever saw old advertisement leaflets from the Austrian or Italian countryside with a farmer on a tractor without the cab, well exactly this can be seen here. Only these are not attractions for tourists as the farmers here cannot rely on the generous founding of the EU. If somebody can pay to a proud owner of a tractor for ploughing his little field, he can save a little time and energy. Not everybody can do that however; many times I saw two cows with a plough doing all the work. You can see this in our country only rarely. And the field is not the main source of living as here in Afghanistan.

October 18, 2010
Hello, friends, colleagues and readers,
In the Centipede diary, we decided to publish a new section – photo of the week. Though the lens of our cameras we will try to introduce the life of the soldiers and their work here in Afghanistan. We hope you will like this part of our news.

Here is the first photo named
„Between the fences“:

October 17, 2010
Today, in our vocabulary we will learn about the names of the days. The week in Afghanistan has 7 days (the same as in Europe), but the days off are a bit different. Friday is a day off, the holiday when the families go to the mosques for the great Friday prayer and they go to visit relatives. Weekend begins basically with Thursday when the people finish work at noon. Do you think that they work too hard, having only one day a week off? Well, in the countryside in Afghanistan, working hours (this expression does not mean anything) are very flexible. The people work when they have to and if they are able to do so. Many other factors count – climate (mainly in the South the temperature reaches 50°C and the people have to start working early in the morning), time for prayers (up to five times a day – at dawn, noon, in the afternoon, evening and at dusk). The Afghan week does not start on Monday, but on Saturday.









yak shamba
















October 17, 2010
Our troop uses cooperation with local military troops in order to be able to fulfil our tasks. Army, police, border police and other security authorities are only being developed here and have not reached their full strength. Afghan army is prepared best and also has good reputation and respect among people (based on its history and reliability). We started our cooperation with new battalion of the Afghan army, located about 20 km from our base. This battalion works in region where we do not get that often. That is why we agreed on deliveries of school equipment that will be done through ANA; thanks to this we will be able to maintain our good reputation among local people and mainly children. In reverse, they will be sending us photos from the schools. We also started to discuss joint patrols; these would be great to strengthen our cooperation.

October 14, 2010
Today we met the cultural advisor of the 1 kandak of the Afghan National Army (ANA) Mjr. Mohamad Daud. We were planning this meeting for couple of weeks already, but it had to be postponed (due to the Ramadan or parliamentary elections).
ANA is moving around the province, sometimes with the coalition partners, sometimes on its own. If we go to some place with a school, we always take with us some notebooks, crayons or candies. And ANA would like to do this too, small presents would contribute to their work too. However, the economical situation in Afghanistan is not good and ANA does not have the money to buy the little things. This is a place for us to fill. It will not be that expensive and it will improve the position of ANA here, which is crucial. Mjr. Daud has always been very cordial to us. Indeed, we met in a very friendly atmosphere. He expressed his thanks with a great hug that I did not expect at all.

October 10, 2010
Today we received a visit by Mr. Jafar, the director of the Department of Education of the province. We invited him to the base as we wanted to discuss our further cooperation with the Department of Education. We have some ideas that we discussed. Mr. Jafar liked them. Our ideas were to set up projects to increase the quality of the education system by delivering the school material both for children and teachers. We learnt that the school year finishes on December 6. The new one starts around March 20; this depends on the length of winter (winter is the main reason for the holiday too). The children have no way how to get to school in winter. That is why the schools are not equipped with heating too. In the region with long hot summers the children have 2-3 months holidays over the summer time. Because of this, we will prepare the projects during winter and realize them at the beginning of the school year so that the children have something to look forward to. At the beginning of the school year, the children will find new school material and other staff that will improve their lessons.

October 9, 2010
On one sunny Saturday afternoon when you had a day off, we went together with the civil engineers to the centre of the district Koshi, about 20 km from our base. The weather was wonderful (about 27°) and the sky was clean. And moreover – we had a wonderful view over the district centre that lies in the middle of one of the greenest valleys of Logar.
The whole valley is about 7 km long. It is only 1 km wide and creates an agricultural region. The administrative centre Koshi comprises of a couple of schools… 3 schools for boys and 3 schools for girls, a health centre, police station and various government authorities. We visited the girls´ school that was built by our civil engineers from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While they were controlling the project, we discussed a couple of issues with the director of the school.
The children surrounded us and were curious to know who came for the visit. Despite the fact that we were in the girls school, there was no girls at that time. The lessons were over… and it was not even noon. You might envy the short day of lessons, but it isn’t always like this. There were lots of boys who accompanied the soldiers. Very often they want pens from us. We could talk to the children quite well as English is taught at the schools in Koshi and the children spoke very well (considering the fact they were only beginners).
In the end the fact that we could communicate, was a smaller problem in the end. I had to explain to them that I did not want to give them my only pen or my only glasses. One of the boys wanted my watch. I could clearly understand that he was really wondering why I did not want to give it to him. I hat to tell him quickly that the watch was a present of my father. He understood really well as fathers and respect for the family are of a really high moral value here. When the teacher came, the situation calmed down; and we could hand him over a box full of school material for him to hand out personally. If this is done by the soldiers, he/she could get his clothes torn down. Well, you can have a look at the pictures…

October 6, 2010
Written dari and pashtu is based on Arabic alphabet; the languages differ in the number of signs. It is not difficult to learn basic phrases when they are written Latin alphabet and have phonetic transcription in order to be pronounced well. The writing, however, is a real challenge for us. You can see yourself by „reading“ text in "dari" language. If you have some problem with reading of this text, put cursor on this line.

There are huge differences in the quality of education in cities and small remote villages, considering equipment and the quality of teachers. In cities, teachers have university degree or other professional training; or at least pedagogical courses that are being organised centrally. In the villages, the ones who can read and write only, are teachers. The illiteracy in this country is really high and the ability to read and write is really appreciated. The teacher can teach not only reading and writing, but all the other subjects (history, geography or even math and physics), provided that he has textbooks for this. CIMIC helps to provide the system of Logar education with the needy textbooks.




How are you?

Tschetor hast?

tschetor haste?

Very well, than you

Taschakor, baschore chub.

tashacor, basyor choop

And what about you?

Wa schoma?

va shoma?

Fine, thanks.

Taschakor, chub.

tashacor choop

October 4, 2010
Military life brings along many specifics and difficulties to the soldiers of all armies. One them is the command for moving the whole troop. Exactly this happened to our colleagues from the Afghan National Army (ANA) who will have to move tens of kilometres to the neighbouring province. We are losing colleagues and co-workers that we were used to and we will have to create new relationships with their successors. I truly believe that the cooperation with the new ANA troops will be at least on the same (very good) level.
To say good bye, our colleagues prepared a party with refreshments and music. Chicken and lamb were served, together with oily rice and traditional bread cake. Local band was playing to dance and listen. Every real Afghan band consists of couple of traditional music instruments. The most important ones are these:
rabab (string instrument similar to guitar), armuna (keyboard instrument, originally from India), rhythmic dol and tabla.
After a couple of minutes, the rhythm started to
work… not only with the Afghan soldiers, but also with our interpreters who danced the atan dance. This is a dance strictly for men, danced in a circle. It starts really slowly, but the speed increases. Physically, the dance is really demanding with the jumps with 360° rotation. Atan is being danced all over Afghanistan, mainly during weddings and other celebrations. The movements differ in various regions.

September 30, 2010
At the end of the month, I made a trip to Kherwar district. The altitude is a bit higher and therefore the weather reminded me of High Tatras moutnains in Slovakia. The sun was very sharp, but pleasant. On the contrary, the temperatures during the night were lower than all of us would like them to be. However, our stay in Kherwar brought us new experiences and friendship with American colleagues.
We tried to be in touch with the local people as much as we could and we were very successful in this. Every day we met sub-governor Mr. Hamayun and discussed various problems with him. We were also in touch with the teacher. Even he is trying hard, the education is still an issue here and needs our attention… as it is the key issue not only for the children, but for the future of Afghanistan.
Close to the district centre, special courses (welding and carpentry) are organised. There is no special class or sophisticated workshops for this course. The mister shows how the work is done and the youngsters stay around, watching him. During the welding course, the kids used the old frame of the car seat; the ones who tried carpentry, worked on window frames and wings. The equipment is very simple and so were the results; but this is how it should be.
During our stay in Kherwar we took many wonderful pictures, you can have a look.

September 27, 2010
Yesterday and today were full of important visits for the provincial reconstruction team. Yesterday, the representative of the chief of the International troops of the ISAF General Lieutenant James J.C. Bucknall visited us. If his visit was important from the military point of view, today’s visit was important from the “national” point of view. The Czech Ambassador, Mr. Petr Pelz, came to visit his countrymen on the Shank base.
Both guests received information about the activities and PRT projects and visited all groups of military and civil part of the contingent. Both were interested in the work of CIMIC group. Of course, we did inform them about our cooperation with the Movement On own Feet – Centipede. The Ambassador had a look at the weapons that we have here and weight some of them. We cannot be here without the weapons so far and the presence of the soldiers equipped with weapons is still necessary.

September 26, 2010
We came to the idea to introduce to you English – Dari vocabulary, basic words and phrases in the local language, nothing difficult. For the start, allow me to share some facts, terms and numbers.
There are a couple of languages spoken in Afghanistan, but only two of them are official – Dari and Pashtu. Both languages are very similar and belong to the Indo-European group of languages. Dari is used by approximately half of the population living in the North, West and Central part of the country (i.e. ethnic groups of Tajics and Hazaras). Pashtu is spoken by 35% of the population, mainly by Pashtuns in the South and East provinces, on the border with Pakistan.
Our interpreters will help us, without them we would be deaf and mute and we would not be able to communicate with local people. English is not enough for communication as only a small part of the population speak the language. English is very important though, as not all the interpreters speak Czech. You can easily imagine how many important things can be lost if one does not communicate directly, but with the help of a third language that is not native. So, we need to be extremely careful while communicating in order not to make any.





Salaam Aleikum

salam aleikum

Answer to "Hello"

Aleikum Salaam

aleikum salam

- this greeting has far deeper meaning - "I come in peace, as a friend"; the same goes for the answer.

Good bye

Choda hafes

chodu háfes







Thank you



September 22, 2010
Baraki Barak district is not one of the quiet ones. The only was how to get any kind of assistance there, is through the official channels – government representatives. We decided to send one van of various goods (300 pairs of gum boots, clothes softener, clothes, toys, office paper, notebooks, chalk and crayons). The van was delivered tot he sub-governor of the distich who will distribute the material best.

September 18, 2010
Today, second Parliamentary elections in Afghanistan took place. The body that will come up of these elections (perhaps at the end of October) is called Vulusi Djigra, something like National Council. It has 249 seats and one quarter (68 seats) is designated for women. There are about 2candidates, out of whom 430 are women.

September 16, 2010
Support of the local military troops and close cooperation with the policemen and soldiers is one of the priorities of the PRT and the CIMIC group. We decided to equip the troop of the Afghan National Army at Shank base with digital cameras, so that they could fill their tasks in a better way. Having the cameras will enable them to make proper documentation of the projects or incidents etc. In a couple of days they will be able to use the cameras while monitoring the Parliamentary elections.

September 14, 2010
Thanks to the military part and financial source of the civil part of the PRT, the conditions for studies in another Logar school improved. Gowmaran School was completely equipped with new desks and blackboards; the old ones were really of no use already. The whole process was delayed for almost a month, but we succeeded in the end. The representative of the company with whom we were discussing the last details and project documents confessed that they were not able to produce the desks as fast as they promised. It was due to Ramadan; it is common that people work only until 1 p.m. during this period. Their productivity is lower due to the hunger and thirst too. A month delay does not mean much in Afghanistan. Most important is to understand and respect local people. Insisting on the terms during Ramadan would not help much…

September 10, 2010
The Czechs (I mean both soldiers and civil experts) do not work in Logar separately; the PRT is a part of the international troops ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). We work in international atmosphere that requests – among others – communication in English language. This enables us meeting our colleagues during the informal meetings and learning about their culture, habits and holidays.
Every first Monday in September, Labour Day is celebrated all over the United States of America. First time it was celebrated in New York City in 1882 and other American cities followed after that. It is a celebration of all working people, sort of an alternative to our May 1, celebrated in Europe. There are US troops at the Shank base; so May 1 was celebrated here too.
As Monday is a casual working day, there were no celebrations on this day. Everybody has to comply with the order of the country we are in. That is why the day of is usually on Friday. There was a sport competition in five different disciplines: tug of war fort he stronger ones, triathlon, 10 km run and other like eating water melon and throwing sacks full of corn. We took part in the running race that begun early in the morning. Petra represented us perfectly as she won the race!

September 9, 2010

Today, Ramadan is over; the ninth and most important months of the Islamic calendar that belongs to five Islamic pillars. It is a month of fasting, every adult Muslim must fast from the sunrise to the dawn. In reality this means no water, no food, no smoking, chewing and sex from 4 a.m. until 7 p.m. The time changes depending on the length of the day. Islamic calendar is being count in lunar months, which means that Ramadan moves 11 days backwards comparing to the Christian calendar.
Eid el-Fitr is a holiday that follows immediately after Ramadan and will be celebrated for three days. One could compare it simply to Christmas. Towards the end of Ramadan the people tidy up their flats and order new clothes. The whole family meets around the table, everybody has new clothes on and they are getting presents. During the following two days, the people visit their remote relatives and friends.

September 7, 2010
The school close to Kherwar district centre is in a really bad shape, not comparing only to the new or reconstructed schools in Logar. It is because of the district is very far from the administrative centre of Pol-e Alam and the terrain. But you know this already.
The tents that were built here by our colleagues of the previous contingent were a bit collapsed and damaged. Our soldiers took the hammers and nails and repaired the tent construction again.
In the meantime in the nearby building, Pavel organised a short paining exhibition. 11 pictures were made by boys aged 5 to 8 years, especially for the Centipede. The boys were trying hard; in the end they received pencils and colouring books. Yes, these were the crayons donated by you all, during the Childrens´ day in Juliska. I hope that you will like the pictures.

September 4, 2010
Today, Najibullah Khan of the Afghan national police is on duty in the kitchen. He needs to prepare bread for all the officers in the district centre and his colleagues. In order to feed them all, 60 breads must be prepared. It is not traditional bread we know, but a “cake” made of flour, water and bit of salt.
The oven is a steel tube about 60 cm deep in the ground with hot coal on the bottom. The bread is baked on the inner sides of the oven, on one side only. You can see the oven and bread in the picture.
The hygiene in this kitchen is not “standard”, but the bread is very tasteful and solid, it has to give lots of energy to everybody. Najibullah is very friendly and offers warm bread directly from the oven. He told us that it is wonderful with a bit of sugar… and we definitely have to try it!

September 2, 2010
It is common in Afghanistan that the orphans are taken care of by the relatives (very often quite distant ones) that is well off. Not all the families have financial means to cover all this and they need help.
In Pol-e Alam, centre of Logar province, there is a school that takes care of the orphans. It is supported by the provincial government and humanitarian organisations that deliver food, textbooks, school uniforms etc. At the moment, 260 boys from the nearby surroundings attend the school.
The director of this special school, one and only in the whole province, informed us that there are discussions going on with the director of the Department of Education in order to set up similar school also for girls. We like this idea very much and believe that the Centipede would like it too. We could help to bring this idea to reality. The right for education belongs to everybody… well, so far in this country it is not common.

September 1, 2010
The holidays, rest and adventures are over!! Now 10 months of learning and gaining new knowledge comes… we wish you lots of success in your studies and lots of energy for that…. And we wish to the teachers lots of patience with the kids!! Best regards, CIMIC group, 6 contingent of the PRT Logar.

September 1, 2010
Situation in Afghanistan is not easy. Even though the textbooks were bought by our predecessors from the 5 contingent, only today they were delivered to the director of the Education department of the Logar province, Mr. Jafar. Mr. Jafar is responsible for the distribution of the books to 18 schools in the whole province. There are 1textbooks for 8USD… 6 copies of every title will be delivered to each of the 18 schools.
Olda, who handed over the books, discussed the current situation in education with the director Jafar and asked about the biggest problems he faced. The director promised to work closely with the CIMIC group and promised to send the list of the schools that are in biggest troubles.

August 28, 2010
Education is one of the priorities of the CIMIC group of the Czech PRT. That is why our first steps aim to the schools across Logar province. We will take care of education the whole six months of our mission. After all, children are the future of every nation, Afghanistan included.
Today we visited the schools in Darwish and Pol-e Qandahari village. I am writing the names of the villages in full so that you could see what names we have to face… well, these are the easier ones. But for us who are used to hear “Lhota” and “Bystřice” in many of its forms it is quite an issue.
We discussed with a young geography teacher Mohammad Hanif his work… and wanted to know how satisfied he was with his work. He likes his job and told us that the working conditions improved a lot after the construction of a new building. He was not that satisfied with his salary that was 400 Afghani or approx. 87 USD monthly. A salary increase is possible; with a better qualification and a longer work experience his salary can double.
In the photos, you can see the “before” and “after” the construction pictures. The change is visible. The pupils and teachers really appreciate the common work of the civil experts and soldiers on the reconstruction in Logar.

August 24, 2010
The cooperation with local military forces and their support is one of the key spheres of the whole PRT (Provincial reconstruction team) as it will be them who will take over responsibility for their country in future. That is why we (the CIMIC group) decided to help.
Two of the Police members of the Shank base were directly hit by the floods. We prepared packets for them with flour, oil, biscuits, blankets and other stuff, and for their children small toys, crayons and notebooks. These things will help them to survive the first days after the floods. The support to the people affected by the flood is the highest priority these days.

August 21, 2010
Today we visited Mr. Abdul Ahmadzai in the district centre. Mr. Ahmadzai is responsible for the culture and information in the Pol-e Alam district. Part of the program of the patrol was also the inspection of the local radio that inform local people not only about the current situation, but also about practical things, such as how to take care of one´s framing.
We were discussing the enlargement of the local library that serves to everybody, mostly to the students. Books are the source of knowledge which is supported both by the Centipede and PRT. We were mostly impressed when Mr. Ahmadzai showed us a stone statue that was saved from the thieves. It was about 2years old and its loss would be the loss of the cultural heritage of this country.
Our further steps went to the Millie Paygham radio, Zinat and RTA radio. Their managers try to do a really good job and do not hesitate to dedicate their time and money to it. The also risk a bit, of course. The project of Czech PRT aims to a wider independence of these radio stations.

August 18, 2010
Directly to work !! Our first steps lead to the South to the Kherwar district. The altitude here is not less than 2and the peaks of the rocky mountains are higher than 3This terrain tested our physical condition.
The farmers on Logar have already harvested in most places, but thanks to the altitude we could see the harvest here in Kherwar even in late August. The corn is being cut by simple reaping hooks and then taken on the donkeys to flail. The work is really hard and is done by men only. As the agriculture is not that intensive here, there are no fertilizers; the crops are much lower than usually. That is why not a single spike cannot be left on the field.

August 17, 2010
I am not sure if it is a coincidence or it will become a tradition to all the future CIMIC groups, but we also have a Petra in our group, the same as in the 5 group. We wish all the best with her name day today, good luck and enthusiasm that will be needed during the whole mission… and all the best in the work and private life.

August 15, 2010
Hello to all the fans and supporters of the movement On own feet – Centipede. Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Miroslav Tomiczek and I am the chief of the CIMIC group. In next 6 months, I will lead you through the work of the 6 contingent of the Czech Army in Logar.
I cannot forget my colleagues Pavel, Leoš, Petra, Olda and Aleš. Together with them we will try to make the piece of Afghanistan that was given under our patronage a bit better and more pleasant place for life. I truly believe that you will keep on supporting our efforts here in the same way you did with our predecessors. The plane with Lukáš took off, we waved him good bye and wish him a safe landing to his beloved ones. Thank you very much for your patience, will and all your advices and shared experiences!


Back to content | Back to main menu