Afghanistan Says ‘Mahalo’ For Lo­cal Treats And Sup­port

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - News - By CAROL CHANG

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

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.

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