By Army Capt. Dustin Hart
American Forces Press Service
Nov. 25, 2008 - Members of the provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province joined residents of Qasaba village during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a newly installed electric transformer Nov. 22. The PRT funded the $35,000 project, which will provide a more constant power source to more than 3,000 people in the small village outside the team's base near Jalalabad.
"This was a great project to be a part of, because it allows us to directly help the people who live near us," said Air Force Capt. Lisa Leon, lead engineer for the PRT. "It lets us return some of the hospitality that has been shown to us so far."
The village had only limited access to electricity prior to the project, but the new transformer will allow the villagers to power their shops, machinery and homes.
"[The PRT] did a good job on this transformer, and the people are really appreciative for the help," said Ataullah, a young Qasaba villager, during the ceremony.
The increased power is especially helpful for the young people of the village, he said, because they now have more power for educational and recreational items such as computers, televisions and radios.
Helping to improve the Afghan people's lives is what the PRT's mission is all about, Leon said.
"The village had unreliable power before, but now they can flip a switch and know that the lights will work," she said. "That's the impact the Afghan government and PRT are working toward here, and I am so happy I could be a part of this."
(Army Capt. Dustin Hart of the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team serves with the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team.)