POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 39 Imagine farming a field that hasn't seen a drop of rain since March, using archaic tools in a hot, dusty, dirty environment, trying to earn a meager living to support a family. That is the sort of thing Afghan farmers deal with day in and day out, says a Charlottetown police officer. Const. Ross Davies of the Charlottetown City Police has been in Kandahar, Afghnistan since February as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team. The Canadian-led PRT is a multi-departmental effort, employing personnel from the Department of National Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency, the RCMP and other Canadian police forces. The PRT's mission is to help extend the authority of the Afghanistan government in Kandahar province, where Canada assumed command in August 2005, by promoting local stability and security, improving local governance structures, and engaging in reconstruction activities. The Guardian contacted Davies via e-mail and he gave some insight as to what it's really like in Afghanistan. Davies said the fact Canadian soldiers have been targeted and killed for their involvement in helping rebuild the war-torn country is quite frustrating. "We have young Canadian men and women that have given their lives and the remainder are risking the same fate every day," he said. Davies said he would equate the insurgents in Afghanistan to the criminals the police deal with in Canada. "This meaning that at home we deal with a very small percentage of the population that are the criminal element. Here, we deal with a very small percentage of the population that do not want to see Afghanistan succeed. The rest are very hard-working people who love their country." The most frustrating part of the mission in Afghanistan is the security situation, Davies said. “All of our movements have to be planned in advance. We must have an appropriate amount of security with us, and time on the ground is limited. When we expose ourselves for too long, that is when we run the greatest risk." Another frustration Davies has is when he reads news articles that say they shouldn't be over there. “This may or may not be true, but to the folks here in this theatre, for the most part it is not their decision and what is needed is support for the job that is being done." Davies says there are lots of positive aspects of the mission. "One of the most rewarding things is that when we are driving anywhere and we see young children running towards us waving and giving the ever-popular thumbs-up. They are the ones that will be the future community leaders and will have the greatest impact on the renewal of (the) country." Davies said he went to visit a school in Afganistan a few months ago and the children were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. When asked who wanted to be a police officer, many of their hands went up. When asked that question in Canada, most students say they'd like to be police officers because it looks fun on TV, he said. "When we asked them why here, their answer was ‘to help their country’." Davies said he is extremely glad to be part of the PRT mission, adding it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. "This mission is a ground-up, rebuilding of a police force as well as a country. Someday when the country has rebuilt and regained itself I will be able to look back and know I played a very small part in that.” Davies' wife, Angela, said she's proud of her husband but worries about him and has mixed feelings about him being overseas. “This is his second mission with the city police. He was in the military before this, so I’m used to him being gone, but this mission is a little bit more difficult because he’s in a little more danger than before, so it’s pretty stressful.” She says this time around her children are older (17 and 14) and they know their father is in constant danger. Although many people don’t think Canada should be sending people to Afganistan, Davies said her husband and the other officers think otherwise. “(The officers) know there’s a job to be done and they’re glad they’re doing it. I know we talk quite a bit about how it’s been portrayed in the government and with people saying our soldiers shouldn’t be over there. They feel they should be, that there’s something to be done. We’re in a country of plenty and they need to give a country with nothing.” Davies has been sending letters to the RMCP Gazette about his experiences in Afghanistan. Those letters can be viewed at www.gazette.rcmp.gc. ca/article-en.html?category_id=1&article_id=245 BY KATIE SMITH - THE GUARDIAN Afghan mission proves rewarding for city constable As originally published Ross Davies of Charlottetown police proud to be playing small part in helping country rebuild itself. Const. Ross Davies of the Charlottetown Ciry Police, seen in this file photo, has been stationed in Kanda har, Afghanistan, since February as part of the Canadian led Provincial Reconstruction Team.