Salaam Afghanistan

Health and Ethnic Conflict.

My first visit to the Heart of Asia -- Reflections and Photos.

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Location: Mbarara, Uganda

Internist and Pediatrician with a passion for international health.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Freaking Out On the Night Drive Through the Mountains

the trip was supposed to be 8 hours.

we drive back the way we came, back trough ghazni. have to stop to fix the car again.
heidar and a gentleman he knows seem to think it's best that i wait at the house. it's not clear why, but there is some sort of danger about. i'm told to stay inside and not to be seen.

first discussion with heidar re: not getting married. "you don't even know me" "i know you." "heidar, with as much as you know about me, i could be any other woman"

we finally leave ghazni, turn west to the road to herat to head to bamiyan.

at 11 hours, the little town in the middle of nowhere. the country is becoming more mountainous. we stop for snacks and bathroom. i ask a man how much farther it is to bamiyan. we are told it should be another 4-5 hours -- i'm starting to get angry and nervous. this is taking much longer than it was supposed to. night falls as we begin the ascent over the mountains.

i'm getting really angry at heidar, getting scared -- did not agree to travel at night through the isolated mountains of afghanistan; the white toyota on the side of the road reminding me of the white toyotas the taleban used to drive around in. putting on my shoes, marking my surroundings and planning how i would escape, having my thuraya satellite phone ready to call for help; arguing with heidar -- it doesn't matter that you have a black belt and your knife, if they ambush our car they will just shoot us in the head. heidar says he'll take full responsibility for anything that happens. what a consolation. he urges me to go to sleep. i know i need to stop thinking about it. nothing has happened. there is no real reason to believe anything would happen. i am the only one concerned. i feel like a child who's afraid of the "monster" in the corner in the dark that turns out to be my jacket draped over my chair when i turn on the light.

at 17 hours, past 10pm, we arrive. find a room on the roof, eat the left overs, go to bed angry.

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