Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting Warmer

It's getting hot in southern Afghanistan now.  A front blew through here last night, dropping a bit of rain around midnight and leaving high winds blowing around a lot of dust in the morning.  I was really happy that I'm not at KAF anymore, since all the vehicles rolling around kicking up dust would have made the place miserable.  It wasn't too bad out here in the boonies.

We've had a busy week with the natives.  There have been lots of meetings to talk about new projects, progress on old projects, security issues, governance issues, and loads of other topics.  One meeting yesterday turned into a heated argument between an Afghan military officer and a local governance leader.  One believed that villages needed to prove that they're safe and secure before getting any development projects, while the other believed that the projects (and the income they provide) should be used to convince the villages to improve their security.  A chicken-and-egg question, but pretty fundamental to what we're doing.  My role?  None.  This was an Afghan debate.  I do not decide for them, they need to decide for themselves, and the way to do that is through debate.  Which they were doing.  Good for them.

One of the challenges that we're working through is that most of the military here are new.  There has been a large turnover of units and people.  Most are new in-country and some had no idea that they were coming to this area.  So they're facing a steep learning curve.  I feel like I'm on a steep learning curve, too, even though I've been watching it from KAF for months.  Instead of knowing just the big picture, I'm down in the weeds, talking to individuals, trying to learn their names, going to different places for meetings, and learning it all from the grassroots level.

It's so much more fun than sitting at KAF!

I haven't done much drawing over the past couple of weeks, though.  When I've been in meetings, I've been an active participant.  I can't just say, "Excuse me, would you shut up for a few minutes and let me draw you?  Oh, and hold that pose."  Not exactly good politics.  But I always have my pad and pencil ready to go.

1 comment:

E C said...

My husband is part of a team that recently arrived
at COP Hutal. While researching online for
Information about his new home I came upon your
Communication back home has been minimal and
Sporadic at best. When we do finally get a
Chance to talk its usually distracted with kids fighting over
Who gets to talk to daddy in the background.
I was so happy to of stumbled upon your blog.
I have a lot of the questions answered that I never
Seem to get to ask him..
What's it like there? The people?
I even saw the pictures you has become
A favorite blog of mine and even my 6 yr old son
Loves to look at the pictures of the children his age
That are there with daddy...
I just wanted to let you know that your blog
Keeps us connected to a husband and daddy
Who is missed very much..
Thank you