A couple of days ago I had quite an experience. A contracted mentoring team who is working with the prison systems in our region requested our medical assistance with immunizations. The previous team gave a few immunizations to the women in the prison. This worthy work also gave me the opportunity to actually meet the ANP doctor I am actually supposed to be mentoring.
The trip there was one of the most reassuringly secure ones I have taken in country. There is something inherently secure about having a team of folks who have eyes like hawks and probably kukri knives underneath their battle dress. I actually got to see the countryside for once as well. Many of my colleagues here have commented that with the exceptions of the few cars and mopeds, this region of mud brick houses and arid landscape appears largely unchanged since Biblical times.
I was able to catch a glimpse of the famous Blue Mosque in downtown Mazar E Sharif on our way. The prison compound was a cramp area of courtyards upon courtyards with razor wire on top. The female cheif corpsman with our team went into the women's area while I was given the rooftop tour. There are no individual cells, but more communal courtyards. The young children, about 6 and below, of the women confined there stay with their mothers unless other family can or will care for them. This may sound heartless from our perspective, but there are no child protective services here, and it appears the staff do their best with the meager resources they are provided to provide a humanitarian existance. They do recieve medical care and looked as healthy as any Afghan I have seen on the streets. Under the Taliban I am sure that all of the women in that area would have been killed outright.
With my interpreter and shadow from Nepal, I made my way to the Regional police HA clinic. I had a good visit and short tour with the Regional medical director. He seemed very interested in continuing to meet with us. I look forward to repairing some of the damage this relationship suffered during the last 6 months.