Today was another banner day.
I went along to witness the turnover of a new Provincial Police Headquarters compound in a nearby area.
The ride was better than most in the back of an MRAP. I got to talk Afghan politics and learn some Dari from an interpreter who was in the back as well. Once again my camera hand was not fast enough, but I saw more sights. There were of course the herds of camels, sheep and goats along with their herders. The Afghans build earthen walls around their land much in the same way the Italians build walls around their property. There were children waving and several groups playing with kites. The most impressive thing was the water.
I have been here 2.5 months and have yet to see a drop of rain. So imagine my suprise as we followed a river bed which had an actual river in it!
There was an impressive amount of agriculture. There were small fields of corn, orchards of almonds and figs(anjir in dari). Along the river and road were large fields growing watermellon (tarbooz). I can tell you that 4 medium tarbooz run about 240 afghani- which is about $4.80. The interpreter also claimed that here in the mountains they had the sweetest ones- he bought several so that his family could celebrate Eid, which is rapidly approaching.
Of course there was business to attend to as well. The new ANP compound is noteworthy for several reasons. First is that it was built by a Turkish company. The astounding part is that it was completed ahead of schedule, under budget, and with impeccable quality. I toured many of the buildings including a detailed look at the clinic, dining facility and water systems. I really wish this company had worked on our Regional Clinic, since this one is much nicer- ceiling fans in every room, central heat, tiles, sinks that work. It was a very well designed and built structure that will if maintained properly serve the ANP in this province for many years.
A great effort by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Turkish contractor. Thanks to them the Afghan National Police have a nice new 'home' in this province.