New Zealand chaplain making a difference to Afghan orphans
The Maori people of New Zealand have a saying: â€œhe tangata, he tangata, he tangata,â€ or, literally â€œthe people, the people, the people.â€ In Bamyan, Afghanistan, New Zealand Army Maj. Kevin P. Brophy canâ€™t keep the phrase out of his mind.
The Padre of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team has a natural need to help people, as is expected of all chaplains. A resident of Taranaki, New Zealand, Brophyâ€™s main job is to facilitate the emotional and spiritual needs of the coalition forces at Kiwi Base, located in the capital district of the province.
When not providing services for Kiwi, American or Singaporean Soldiers, Brophy has one major concern on his plate: a small orphanage, which he took under his wing with the help of Coalition Forces.
â€œItâ€™s not like our arms are pulled here,â€ said Brophy, â€œBut, one look at the kids, and it becomes impossible to look the other way.â€
Brophy made the Samir Samad orphanage, which services around 65 displaced kids, his pet project while he completes his six-month tour of duty here. He and the NZPRT visited the orphanage on several occasions to bring the orphans much needed supplies. In this most recent visit, the Kiwis, with the help of the American Embedded Training Team brought bunk beds, clothing and toys to the kids.
When the Kiwis came to the school, driving up-armored SUVs, the kids dropped everything they were doing and ran out to greet them. Most were in school, which brought a scolding from the teachers. What mattered more than school to the orphans were the potential surprises the NZPRT was bringing today.
The older children assisted the Kiwis who unloaded the pieces needed to construct the beds. The younger kids ran around the Soldiers involved with other tasks; some Soldiers being pulled by small hands to various parts of the orphanage. One child excitedly pointed at his home country on a map, then pointed to New Zealand, showing where he was, and where his help had come from.
With the help of the older kids, the Kiwis and the Americans built only one bunk-bed outside the orphanage. This was a classic example of the â€˜give a man a fish, and he will have food for a day. But teach a man to fish, and he will have food foreverâ€™ doctrine that Brophy likes to use during his work in Bamyan. The orphanage learned how to build their own beds, allowing for future repairs and construction without the help of Coalition Forces.
With one child clinging to the Padre with tears in his eyes, begging the man not to go, the NZPRT and the American ETT waved good-bye to the children. Their job was done this day. But this will not be the last time the Kiwis and U.S. Forces will grace the orphanage with their presence. A major kitchen-remodeling project is in the works, and an exposed wire burial project is in the near future.
The Padre put it best when he said that it isnâ€™t the missions or patrols that one goes on that he remembers the most. Itâ€™s the people, the people, the people.
Written by U.S. Army Pfc. Roy Mercon
Task Force Wolverine Public Affairs
Table of contents for Military Chaplains
- Jesus Walks the Battlefield
- Father Martin C. Hoehn
- Church: Chaplains are heroes, too.
- Chaplain Gave All-Chaplain (Major) Henry T. Vakoc
- Father Vincent Capodanno
- Father Elmer Heindl
- Father Heindl Saved America
- Father Leo – Saving Souls in Iraq
- Father (Capt.) Emil Kapaun
- Priest Called to Serve – in the Army
- Former Stunt Man Makes Leap to Airborne Ministry
- Female Chaplains Serve God and Country
- West Point Priest in Iraq
- Father Tim Never Surrendered
- Guard Member Earns Chaplain of Year Award
- Aiding God and Country: Chaplain Assistants
- To one Marine chaplain, karma is everything
- New Zealand chaplain making a difference to Afghan orphans
- St. Elijah’s Monastery in Iraq
- Captain Dale A Goetz KIA
- Mass celebrated in a far away land
- Serving God and the troops in Kyrgyzstan
- A breeze and a Bible changed her life
- Our Best: Spc. Heather Lane
- Military service a testimony of faith
- Father Emil Kapaun to be awarded Medal of Honor
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This entry was posted on Monday, June 7th, 2010 at 10:50 am and is filed under War on Terror, Afghanistan, Military, Our Allies, War on Terror, Afghanistan, Rebuilding, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.