Salaam Afghanistan

Health and Ethnic Conflict.

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

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Name:
Location: Mbarara, Uganda

Internist and Pediatrician with a passion for international health.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Khuda Hofez Afghanistan


Wow. I can't believe I am really leaving this place. I actually managed to feel pretty at home here, comfortable, get into a routine, make a little life. I am used to being here. I am used to the sights, used to the heat, used to the dress codes, used to the poverty of the country (still not used to the poverty of the people). I think it is going to be really weird to be back home, where most everyone is wealthy, the land of the cellophane-wrapped meat and 1 million different varieties of every single commodity, of central air-conditioning, of credit cards and ATMs, of solid stools. All of a sudden I will be searching for an apartment that will cost me three times as much per month as most Afghans make in a year. I'll be out alone in public in shorts and a tank top and no one will think it is inappropriate, no one will even notice. And I'll get to use soft toilet tissue! I'll eat unpeeled and comparatively tasteless fruits, and I will wet my toothbrush under the water from the faucet, clean and safe and flourinated for my benefit. The children will have toys, and will be back in school. Traffic will follow traffic laws, and no more announcements about road closures because of possible IEDs!

I am finishing up here at work. I just sent out my exit memo, and cleaned out my desk. I didn't finish my project because the translations are so slow-going, but I hope to receive them in time to finish my analysis before I start school again in two weeks. I can't believe how busy things will get all of a sudden!

I am going carpet shopping today, and hopefully will be able to send them via the APO here. Tomorrow I finish packing and enjoy one more meal at home with Fred and Mar and Winston. I have to make my arrangements for a hotel in Istanbul, where I will be for two days on my way back home. I get back to Boston on Sunday evening and will be home in Texas for 10 days. I'll have to be working -- neuroanatomy, finishing my study. And I get back to Boston just in time to start school again -- two days before! I don't have an apartment. All of my stuff is in my friend Peter's living room. I absolutely hate looking for an apartment and moving! I hate that I will be doing that while I am starting school! ugh.

I digress, don't I? I just wanted to send a quick update as I prepare to leave. I have so many stories that I will work on posting as soon as I am back on a computer. I'll put them in their appropriate place, appropriately dated as soon as possible, complete with photos.

I haven't internalized that I am leaving here and that I don't know when I will be back. For some reason, it feels like I'll be back soon. ..

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