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Livewire : Issue 1
8 livewire.org.au Karen West was a 23 year old voluntary nurse for Frontier Medi- cal Australia or FMA for short, She had just boarded a military plane bound for Kabul, Afghanistan’s crumbling capital unaware that her life was about to change forever. Afadeo Mah-Aljid was a 5 year old boy who had seen more violence in his short life than a kid from a stabilised nation would see in his lifetime. Afadeo called a half destroyed building home which he shared with other youngsters along with the occasional rat or two. His family had all been tragically killed in a roadside bomb attack. Karen knew the danger which lay ahead, FMA’s aim was to deliver medical supplies to a skeleton hospital which was practically blown to smithereens from the fighting. Once on the ground FMA’s mobile unit would be escorted by Australian troops to the hospital. The convoy bumped its way down a crater stricken road, remnants of shell fragments still remained in some places and were considered among local Afghan’s highly priced scrap. Afadeo was resting in a building with no roof. He was stirred by the sound of engines, and fearing it might be the Taliban looking for young recruits, he dashed out, only to be nearly run over by a UN vehicle. The 4wd stopped just as the sky came alive with gunfire. Karen saw a little boy in front of the 4x4. With no consideration for her own safety she dashed out and grabbed him by the hand, helping him into the safety of the 4wd. As the convoy took off with speed; it was the start of a strong bond between the pair. Once the FMA had finished their duties at the heavily de- stroyed hospital, they were whisked away to the nearby Australian Base where a Black hawk helicopter was waiting to ferry them to Is- lamabad, Pakistan. Karen made a few phone calls regarding the guardianship of Afadeo. Using her medi- cal files she was able to fast track through the red tape of paperwork and on arrival in Melbourne she would be able to sign a Federal govern- ment form and after that Afadeo would legally be her son. While Afadeo was occupied playing with his car on the terminal floor Karen signed the Federal document that declared she was now the legal guardian of Afadeo, before they left the terminal building Karen had a small unit in Camber- well. Whilst en route to her home, Karen practiced a couple more English phrases with Afadeo. So far Afadeo could say “Hello, Thank you, Please and No”. They pulled into her driveway. Whilst go- ing through Melbourne Karen had pointed out a couple of famous landmarks such as Federation Square, the MCG and the new Ferris wheel which had recently sprung up. Karen unlocked the front door and Afadeo’s eyes almost bulged out of his head. He had never seen in his short life such extraor- dinary things that most Western people took for granted TV, lounge , table and chairs, he was even more amazed when Karen flicked a switch and the light came on. Afadeo was overjoyed when he turned a tap and water came out, once Karen had unpacked she started to pre-pare tea he watched in fascination as Karen chopped up vegetables and retrieved some rice out of the pantry. They sat down at the kitchen table for tea, Afadeo tried a bit of rice, Kar- en waited for his response he giggled with delight it tasted nice, it had been Karen’s special ingredient that did the trick. continued on page 10 LW_08-013_Connection.indd 8 6/8/10 11:43:03 AM