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Things I will miss

Because everyone has had an ample earful of what I won't.

1. Afghanistan.

2. Afghans who aren't shooting at me.

3. The funnier people I've worked with, who are all fleeing into other offices for the rest of their time here anyway.

4. Afghanistan.

5. Bootleg movie shops.

6. Afghanistan.

What can I say? I really like this place. To quote Gimli, "This place has strong bones." I like mountains and once had an interesting meeting with Skadhi in the Rockies, but the Hindu Kush makes the Rockies look like foothills. I'm in the footsteps of Alexander and living in his winter encampment.

The Afghan people are open, friendly and generous. As one of our interpreters said to SFC N just before she left, "We Afghans, if you come to our house, we let you in, we let you stay, we kill a goat for you. But if you come with a gun, we shoot you." Wise words, sir. Wise words. One of my Afghan ladies promised to bring us gifts when she next saw us, and appeared last week with bead necklaces and collars she'd made for four of us. Mine is more collar-like and I will wear it with my Pasthun camisas (tunics).

Since we have lots of new people and six people at least leaving, on Friday I got together with 1LT C and Fritz (one of the interpreters; since he may appear in LJ in future I am giving him a fake name instead of an initial)to arrange for Afghan food. LT and I collected the money, Fritz called the restaurant he trusts outside. Since Fritz spent four years as a food safety inspector in California, he's the subject matter expert. Yesterday we went to the parking lot by a DFAC to fetch the food. The bus that runs from the front gate arrived and about eight guys came out carrying a pot large enough to hold a whole sheep, which it did, a big sack of flatbread and a pot of kofta (meatballs). Two of the men were dressed as chefs and the other six were probably cousins who'd just come along for the ride. I greeted and thanked them in Pashto and instantly there was a wall of faces staring at me in shock and amusement because, you know, Americans aren't supposed to speak Pashtun, so what UFO did I just get off of. I gave them the limited Pashtun I have (counting and saying, "Yes, there is tea") and that was better than going to the movies for them. I felt rather like a circus animal but that's okay.

The food was great; pilau with a couple legs of mutton, kofta and salad. Everybody was happy, Fuckin' Jimmy the interpreter went off with four takeout boxes of leftovers to feed to the wolverines who speak Urdu and clean the tashnabs or something (I have got lots of Fuckin' Jimmy stories) and my fellow tea granny MAJ P got his awards. We four from Cali get ours today.

This time next week I should be at Ft. Benning. I'll keep you all informed.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
garpu
Jun. 6th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC)
I take it there will be Fuckin' Jimmy stories in the future? :)

From your posts, it does sound like an interesting place.
miafeliz
Jun. 6th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
I've enjoyed reading about Afghanistan from your posts. I know it's been a hard year and a rough assignment, but you have found some peace and a bit of contentment amid all the other stuff.

Glad you're on the way stateside though.
greytweed
Jun. 6th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)
I have been fascinated with Afghanistan since first reading about "The Great Game." The area sounds incredibly beautiful, and the people quite noble, in that old-fashioned meaning of "generous, kindly, and proud of their culture."
wombat_socho
Jun. 6th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
Thanking God you made it through your tour without getting wounded or worse, and that there were good times despite all the crap.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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