Gave what might be my last class today. Planning on rolling out of here on or about 1 March and heading to Kentucky for about a month before I move semi-permanently to Bangkok (1 year, 2 years or forever…) with my gal Unny. Before I move over there, I gotta give my Momma some love for a couple of weeks. She’s put up with me being over here for long enough. I gotta give Momma some Momma Time!
This morning though. Seems everything went wrong. I got an email from George with my truck tax voucher. So I decided to download it so that I could print it out later. I downloaded it. Slammed in my memory stick. Thought to myself; “I better not forget this.” Put the tax voucher on my my stick. Walked right out of my hooch sans memory stick.
The memory stick with the class that I was scheduled to give today at the RHQ.
I jump on board the MRAP for the 20 minute ride to the RHQ.
Arrive at the RHQ. Take off my Body Armor. Unload my gear. Hand off my laptop and one eye to my terps. They set up the classroom for me. I walk in and they ask me for my memory stick. I start checking my pockets fearing the worst. Of course, it’s in my laptop back at my hooch. We start calling everyone and their mother to get us a download of the class from the Terp shack on Camp Zafar. We’re finally able to get someone ont he phone. Wahid and Shoaib explain to Mustafa from where he can download the class. They tell us 20 minutes and they’ll have it to us.
I start the class with an open discussion. Hoping that I can keep it going for 20 minutes or long enough for my class to arrive and throw it up on the wall with our one–eye. I should have known. No discussion with AFghans is short. It takes at least 20 minutes to say a proper hello. I tell my guys (Wahid, Farhad and Shoaib) that they should just abbreviate hte ceremony by saying “Hello Five Times” when they greet each other. About 20 minutes later, the memory stick arrives. Somehow, Mustafa has sent us the wrong class.
Oh well, time to suck it up and go with what I know. Luckily, I know this log stuff backwards and forwards. If I was one of those apes who reads slides, I’d be screwed. lol
I give the class. It’s all good. We have a nice discussion. Maybe they’ve learned something. Maybe they haven’t. They seemed into it as we had a pretty good discussion. I like this format and think we should have used it a bit more in my time here.
COL Zahir, COLl Aminullah, COL Zahan and LTC Latif all stand up and give little “thank you, God Bless, God Protect You” speeches to us for coming and giving the class. I get 10 invites to tea and for tours of the town. More invites to come to supper at their homes. Most of these guys, I’ve worked with for two and a half years. It feels a bit like a re-union. Kinda sad to be leaving all of this warm friendship behind. They all make me promise to get down to their offices one more time before I depart. I tell them that I’ll do my best. COL Aminullah says; “Don’t leave like that. It’s bad. Come and say goodbye to us.” Such a warm and friendly atmosphere with the guys with whom I’ve worked with over the past couple of years.
I’ll miss it.
After class, I have to stop by and see my kids. They’re all out there playing. As I round the corner, they spot me and yell at me. I don’t know if they know my name or not. lol But I’ve finally got all four of theirs down.
Nahida, Jalil, Ali and Wazir. Cutest little kids in Central Asia. I purchased a little doll to give to Nahida. And more of the balloons for the boys. I give them cookies, candy and muffins. I won’t lie. It feels nice to do this. Give these kids a little bit of friendship and it helps it feel normal over here for a few minutes when they’re smiling at me and happy and giggling. Makes me feel happy and warm and fuzzy. Just something small. Brings a smile to their faces as we sit there and laugh together. Little Jalil has taken to hugging me. In the pics, he’s the one with his arm around my shoulders. Nahida has even loosened up a bit and smiles more naturally now. It’s nice to be normal for a minute or two.
Wahid snaps our pics and I take pics of them individually. Memories, I suppose.
It was a nice visit.
Our time is up. We head back to the trucks. Wahid, Farhad and Shoaib head home for the day. Nice morning for all of us.
When we get back to base, I strike gold. Someone has dropped off a goodie box at the Chapel. It’s full of small pillows and some teddy bears. I snatch up a couple of them. I’ll take them and give them to the kids tomorrow. More smiles and more laughs. Who could ask for anything better. Smiles and laughter from children. Small, much too short moments of bliss for me in Afghanistan.
Soon, though. I’ll get my package. I’ve ordered them all kids size UK sweatshirts. lol And a UK knit beanie for Nahida. She’ll be cute all dressed up in UK blue. lol All three of them will be. And I’ll definitely get pics of that. I’ll have to post them to my blog once I leave contract. lol It’ll be cute and good for a few laughs with the kids.
Christmas is right around the corner. They don’t celebrate Christmas. Probably have no idea what it is. But they’re going to get a small taste of it in 2009.
I hope you all are doing well out there.
Peace and Khoda Hafiz…Dave