US soldier in Afghanistan builds toy robots from bottle caps

homemade robot 4When you have free time thousands of miles from home in the middle of a desert, it takes some creativity to stay entertained. NPR recently reported a story on the donation and sharing of guitars amongst those musically inclined troops. We’ve got something a little more techie for you.

homemade robot 3A blogger at Another Limited Rebellion recently shared an awesome story about Private First Class Rupert Valero, who is using his long-standing passion for action figures and limited spare time to create toy robots from miscellaneous found materials.  The full interview tells of his history with collection and how it transformed to fit his current situation.

“The use of found items is based on what is available to me out here,” Valero “Assemblage has really grown on me to the point I will continue to build from found items…It will be more difficult to find large quantities of items like bottle caps. Out here, you need to hydrate, so it’s more readily available than say, back home.”

The universal enjoyment of toys has helped him and other soldiers to connect and relieve stress in their forward operating base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and to interact with local nationals on a uniquely personal level. Addressing to your inevitable question about dealing with his fellow soldiers, “Yes, they love to ‘pose’ my stuff. If I can inspire my team mates and somehow  distract them from the brutal horrors we encounter, by reminding them we are all kids at hear- I have done my job.”

“Toys are universal, be it in mainstream America, or way out in the middle of the desert. There is something wonderful when imagination is spurred up, and if I can do my part and bring a smile to a child, it may deter them from doing something they shouldn’t.”

If you, too, want to smile, check out more photos on Flickr, or buy some
some of PFC Valero’s stuff on his Etsy page.

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