Sunday, November 22, 2009

khaagbad, bo-ron and gel

Today was a hectic day.

We spent the first half of the day meeting with our Afghan counterparts. There are about a dozen issues in which we are moving forward. I am proud that we have worked together to come up with a syllabus and book to teach a Trauma Assistance Program(TAP) to Policemen in the Northern Region. That gets us one step closer to actually starting the course and handing it over to our Afghan friends to run on their own. TAP is a police version of the Combat LifeSaver (CLS) course which has been so popular and necessary in the US Armed Forces. It is only right that the Afghan National Police, who are taking casualties at much higher rates than the Afghan National Army, or Coalition Forces, should have this information.
We are also very close to turning over a new clinic. It is almost completed and will have many amenities that his current clinic lacks. Reliable electricity, running water, and ground floor access are the top ones that come to mind. With this new facility will come new capabilities and responsibilities.

The second half of the day was spent travelling. This is where we get our Dari words for the day. I travelled to the site of the new clinic with some engineers inspecting the facilities. I was hopeful that I could be there to supervise the turnover of keys to my counterpart. The trip was initially a slow one. A dust storm or khaagbad had moved in. It was not like the movie sandstorms where torrential winds blast huge chunks of sand at high velocity. It was some wind and lots of dust in the air. It looked like someone had burst open many sacks of buckwheat flour into the air. The lighting almost looked like it does at twilight or during an eclipse. I was hesitant to talk too much outside, since every time I opened my mouth I was rewarded with the satisfying crunch of sand on my teeth afterwards. The floor of the clinic was still wet after painting and sealant, so it will be turned over in a few days. I will probably not be able to be present during the transfer, but will be able to coordinate the process by phone.

During the trip back the storm changed from khaagbad to bo-ron. Bo-ron is rain. While I have mentioned rain a few times, this is the first real rain I have witnessed in Mazar-e-Sharif. It was not a tropical deluge, but I was soaked after walking about 200 yards. The bo-ron leads us to our final word of the day, gel. No, I am not talking about a hair care product mostly seen in the hair of our German colleages. I am talking about mud. Bo-ron + dirt=gel. Thankfully we recently got a new shipment of gravel around the camp so it is not too muddy. Now I will have a chance to clean myself and my gear after a day in the elements.

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