Afghanistan Says ‘Mahalo’ For Local Treats And Support
Letters from Calvin Sagara, a Waialua boy and 1965 Leilehua graduate, have reached Wahiawa, telling how much he and his buddies appreciate the gifts of food from home as they go about their mission to stabilize Afghanistan.
Through Club Asoka, Wahiawa schoolchildren and others, there has been a steady flow of CARE packages since 2003 to Hawaii troops in the Middle East.
Sagara, who retired in 2007 from the Army Reserve, was voluntarily recalled last summer to be the operations sergeant major at Bagram Air Base for battalion commander Col. William Florig ( of Waikele).
“These comfort foods are delicious and break the monotony of mess hall meals,” he wrote to Club Asoka, which is a community service arm of Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission. “Since the weather is getting colder, I have been eating the snacks that all of you have been sending. I’m sparingly sharing some of them with the guys … ”
Sagara, whose brother Donald is active in Club Asoka, also described how the Americans are assisting villagers with health screenings, sanitary practices, malnutrition issues and new kinds of enterprise for women, such as harvesting prized oyster mushrooms.
“The spores of the mushrooms are spawned in sterile hay at home and harvested at maturity,” he reported. Then the women have both the mushrooms and nutritious hay ( for livestock) to sell.
Over the years, Club Asoka has sent everything from shave ice machines and ramen to mango seed, phone cards and Seissmic peanut butter. It still welcomes donations of cash, recyclables and merchandise. For details on how to give, call 621-0115 or e-mail email@example.com.
Most recently Wahiawa Elementary School’s student council presented the club with $300.
“We were overwhelmed by the students’ generosity,” said Donald Sagara. “ In return we learned that some 60 students’ parents were serving in the Middle East. We took steps to send packages to some of those parents.”
Wahiawa Elementary School’s student council and staff recently presented Club Asoka with at $200 check and $100 cash for its mission to lift the morale of Hawaii soldiers serving in Afghanistan. They are (from left) treasurer Harley Frye, principal Troy Tamura, vice president Kaylee PacariemGarcia, secretary Taylor Gagne, counselor Kari Kawabata, president Skye Kaohu and student activities coordinator Grant Toyooka.
Sgt. Maj. Calvin Sagara (center) with a fellow soldier and an Afghan villager. Photos from Donald Sagara.