Sunday, November 13, 2005

For pictures...skip to the bottom...

Morning, mid-day and afternoon coffee, and a few cigarettes interspersed between. On the other side of the world the working day has caught up with me. Today was the first real day on the job here. I woke up, shaved, took shower, grabbed my coffee, had some toast, checked my morning email, and then went to the office. Going to the office consisted of walking down stairs, out the main gate of the glitter house, walking 10 feet through the gate next door, and going to my desk in the back building. Going home is going to consist of the reverse. This is much nicer than the Metro and 66, though I don’t get to do my daily Su-Do-Ku.

It seems that my work here will consist of a mix of indirect applications of my engineering and law degrees. Though I’m aware it’s way to early to tell exactly. Yesterday I went to my first staff meeting, yes a Saturday…the first day of the 6-day workweek I am contracted to, and walked out a bit dazed. The daze was not a result of the meeting being at 8 am. Rather, there is a whole lot going on here, and hearing all of it in a little over an hour left my head whirring. When I realized we’re only working on energy development, the concept of “rebuilding a nation,” especially after over 20 years of war, started to dawn on me.

Granted, there are many veterans of the international development world for whom this is all old hat, a fact that is quite humbling…and somewhat saddening. Nonetheless, I find being here exciting on several levels. Though, the alternate being churning out patent applications probably helps to bolster that feeling. I’m sure the newness of all this adds to this feeling, and that with time the air of excitement and hope will simply become the dusty air of Kabul. But until that time comes, I’m going to relish this naiveté. I’ll enjoy the fact that I feel like I’m part of something significant, something bigger, and hopefully something lasting.

I think that motivation and the realistic sense of one's place in all this, is the only thing that helps with putting up with many of the difficulties of working here. For sure, there are plenty of rewards, but those I think soon become less significant as time away from home, family and friends extends. Last night we were taken out to dinner, the whole team, as a thank you from my boss for a job well done. I kinda felt bad tagging along as I’ve only been here for a few days, but I wasn’t about to refuse the invite. At the dinner I got to talk to my boss a lot. Sevearl times he reiterated the above point.

No, no, not the point that I was tagging along unjustifiably. Rather his point that the motivation for doing this was to do something, and if it can be bigger than yourself and your immediate needs, all the better. He reiterated the point that his contribution here will be forgotten, and it wasn’t with regret that he said that. As I took it, his was saying that legacy was not the point, but rather impact was. Those few that know what he is doing here will eventually forget, but hopefully what he’s done will last. In the end, even if it all falls apart—entropy…everything always falls apart--at least he’s done something beyond himself. Hopefully, as I get further along with this whole thing, as I get used to dusty, dry skin, cold wind and cabin fever, I’ll remember his point and be happy to have been a part of this too.

Ok, so I’ll try not to make future posts quite like this one…and did anyone actually make it this far? No, no, not you my lawyer friends, first/last line readers, skimming till you’re dizzy while still sitting still. Actually, I'll be embarassed if anyone actually read this...

Well here’s probably what you came looking for…pictures.

The glitter house, my home for the next _ months, at night.

Our front gate night guard, at the main entrance of the house.
A blurry picture of the house. I'll post a daytime picture soon, it'll clarify the name of the house.
The foyer and stairway up to my 3rd floor room.
Here is another view out of my room, the Old Kabul Fort, I believe, which dates back to the Mughal days, and which the Brits…well, we all know what happened to the Brits last time they were here. Hopefully they’ll leave Kabul Fort alone this time.


Jon said...

Nice pictures. Fancy place you are staying. Don't forget to do some looting Alan.

Vasco Pyjama said...

You live in Qala-e-Fatehullah in District 10? Welcome to the 'Stan. How long you staying for?

jojo said...

guess i'm not a real law student--i read the whole post. i was disappointed at the lack of ...'s and incomplete sentences, but it's amazing how clearly i can hear your voice through this machine. keep the words coming.
what is this _ months sh@$#t? how long are you going to be there?