AFG Local Bazaar Stimulated by Marines
I Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd) Story by Sgt. Shawn Coolman.
04.10.2010 COMBAT OUTPOST CASTLE, Afghanistan- The U.S. dollar is a powerful ally in improving the local Afghan economy and the Marines quality of life.
The 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Marines manning the COP frequent the bazaar (local market) to buy produce, livestock and commodities that normally wouldn't be available to them.
The Marines here established a good rapport between themselves and the locals who allowed them to purchase goods at economic prices.
"It's a good relationship that we have with the Marines here. They buy most of the things we sell here which helps us a lot," said Nyaamatula, a local bazaar shopkeeper. "When the Marines come in here they have a great relationship between the locals and the shopkeepers," said Nyaamatula, through an interpreter.
It hasn't always been that way. When 4th LAR arrived here the bazaars' shops were not regularly open or had nothing to sell to the Marines.
"When we got here in November, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Marines told us about the bazaar," said Cpl. Jesse J. Hurtado, 23, a food service specialist with 4th LAR. "There wasn't much out there when we got here. Not a lot of the shops were open, but we still could buy a few personal items from the shops."
Now with more Marines coming from the COP the shops are open to more Afghans and Marines with a wide selection of goods to be bought.
"There's a lot of variety now. We can go out to the bazaar and buy fresh produce, lambs and chickens which are much more available," said Hurtado, from Los Angeles.
"It's gotten a lot better now that the Marines are here, because we can buy things cheaper using money we got from the Marines, and that means we have more variety of things to sell the Marines for cheaper," said Abdeljamil, another local shopkeeper.
Now that there is abundance of produce at the bazaar, more Marines are buying and cooking their own food and spending money to help the local Afghan economy.
"I think a good 60 percent of the Marines here don't eat at the chow hall. They buy all their food from the bazaar," said Hurtado, father of one.
"The Marines buying from the bazaar helps the local economy out a lot," said Hurtado. "The produce is more in demand now, and the farmers will actually bring in more produce for the Marines which both helps the Marines and themselves by making more money."
During the holidays, 4th LAR Marines were able to get a large amount of lamb and produce which allowed them to have a big Christmas dinner.
"During Christmas, Marines with Bravo Company, (4th LAR) bought three lambs and some produce from the market, and that's what we made for Christmas dinner," recounted Hurtado.
Even with prices going up at the bazaar, as the interpreters say, everything still seems cheap to us, and the Afghans are making more profit so in the end it still helps all of us, said Hurtado.
Pictures provided by DVIDs Images.
1 of 3 An Afghan shopkeeper pushes a recently purchased lamb from the local bazaar to the entry control point at Combat Outpost Castle, March 31. The 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Marines here purchase goods from the stores helping the local Afghan economy and improving their quality of life.
2 of 3 Cpl. Jesse J. Hurtado, speaking through an Afghan interpreter, buys some produce from the local bazaar near Combat Outpost Castle, March 31. 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Marines here purchase produce, livestock and commodities they normally wouldn't have from the bazaar both improving their quality of life here and the local Afghan economy.
3 of 3 Lance Cpl. Justin T. McKee, cooks a chicken and lamb that was recently purchased at bazaar near Combat Outpost Castle, March 31. The 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Marines purchase commodities from the local bazaar cheaply which improves their quality of life and helps the local Afghan economy.
Posted by MsMarti - on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 07:30 in Afghanistan News, Permalink.
May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again. Digg!