I had a message from a friend yesterday who said she enjoys reading my blog posts, but she gets concerned when she doesn’t see me post for a while. I hadn’t thought about how people might interpret my delay in posting.

No need to worry.

My beloved G4 is being a bit cranky at the moment. My hard drive is nearly full with images. Even though I have everything backed up on one external drive, I won’t feel comfortable deleting any of my images from Afghanistan until I have them all backed up a second time on another external drive.

Redundancy, in this case, is a good thing.

I can’t process any images at the moment and I won’t have a new drive until Feb. 20. In the meantime, I decided I could write one or two blog posts that won’t necessarily require photos.

I’m currently focusing my reporting on the Female Engagement Team with the Ist Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment. I pitched a story on the women soldiers to the Christian Science Monitor for next month, since March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. The project will be a photo essay, with an emphasis on a visual narrative rather than the written story I produced for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in January.

We just spent four days and four chilly nights with the soldiers of Charger Co. in Khenjakak. Our tent didn’t have any heat and I felt like bones rattling in a coffin in my sleeping bag.

One morning I spent a shift with two soldiers in a guard tower from 0500 to 0730. (I’ll be writing about that guard shift in a blog soon. I want to include a few photos.)

After a couple hours in the Tower 3, I decided I’m not going to complain about my cold tent anymore. In fact, I’m going to remind myself not to complain about much of anything after hearing some of the stories of what the soldiers have lived here. And these soldiers said they don’t have any right to complain when they think about what soldiers endured in WWII and Vietnam.

The soldiers have been generous with their stories.

And with their acceptance of a reporter amongst them.