I have been here for two weeks. Afghanistan does not change. After the Americans (and other nations depart) it will go back to being a primitive country, ruled by the war-lords. Democracy will not take root here, this is not South Korea.
I returned from my first road trip (on this project). I did not get a chance to shower for over a week. When I got back to my barracks, I took the mother of all showers, and scrubbed myself down to the raw skin.
Unhappily, I still have the traveler's discomfort. Five trips to the toilet every day. The food never changes here! The same boneless chicken, and tough beefsteaks, that I have been eating since 2004. All served on cardboard, and you eat with plastic forks. The breakfast is solid and greasy. Bacon and eggs, grits, frosted mini-wheats.
The company issued me a cellphone. Cellphones in Afghanistan, do not have monthly plans like the USA. You have to buy minutes at the phone store. There is a "secret" number, that you must scratch off, then key that number into the phone. As you talk, the minutes go down, and then you go buy some more. I bought my own minutes, and the firm gave me some additional minutes. I forgot to take my phone charger with me, on the road trip, and the battery ran down. I bought a new charger for $10, so now I have a spare. I will know better, next time. Always bring a spare battery charger.
I am continuing my in-processing. One thing I could really use is a spare laundry bag. The laundry office gives you a bag, with a serial number. You must fill the bag with your soiled laundry, and turn it in. You cannot use your own bag! And you can only have one bag. If I had a spare bag, I could "rotate" and have one in the laundry, and one in the barracks, and just exchange them. When I was at Kandahar, a lodge brother got me a spare bag, and I was able to obtain a third bag from some one else. I was able to turn the laundry around quickly!
My barracks did not have any chairs. No place to sit down in my quarters. So I went to gym, and "appropriated" a chair, and took it to the room. Problem solved.
Afghanistan is a dirty country. Soot, filth, pollution, etc. Today I saw a man sprinking water on the street with a water can, like you would water your garden with. Turns the dust to mud. This country is either a pile of dust or a lake of mud. And it is DRY here. Relative humidity very low, so my mouth and throat are always dry. And the elevation here in Kabul is about 7000 feet. So I am getting used to the thin air.
Basically, Afghanistan SUX. But I would rather be working here , that unemployed back home.