Afghanistan Diary
Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I have done something stupid at work and I am still dealing with its repercussions. Yesterday, somebody from a ministry came to discuss our possible participation to their “Electronic Afghanistan Project.” That project consists in putting as much information on Afghanistan as possible online, and since DACAAR possess a lot of useful information, it was natural that they ask for our help. They wanted to get an idea of what our database structure was, it order to see if it would be possible to integrate the data we have with that of others agencies.

I understood that we were collaborating with this guy more than we actually were, and to cut a long story short, I gave him a copy of one of our database. It was rather poor judgment on my part, naturally. Not being a complete idiot (admittedly I came pretty close), I did require from him assurances that he would not use the data without our prior consent, which he has since put in writing. Basically I don’t think it is too bad. I think that it is in our interest to contribute to this project if it ever takes off the ground, and he gave us guarantee that they would wait for our approval before doing anything to the data. However, people in some departments did not see it this way. Management was already heard of the fiasco, and it has taken meetings and efforts to find a situation everybody would be comfortable with.

I have been working with Microsoft Access for a month and I now developed a love-hate relationship with the software: it doesn’t scale for shit, it is pathetically unstable and yet, it is so user-friendly it is almost irritating. I lost whatever little respect I had for Access developers: this stuff is so easy! Ok, I shouldn’t get too cocky because I certainly have a lot more to learn, but it is possible to build in minutes forms that would take hours to develop on the web (my background). I guess the internet is still not a very mature environment, although it is slowly getting there.

Since this blogg is the place for my witty and informative comments on life in Kabul I am going to share some observations I made from buying groceries: bread is almost for nothing, fruits and vegetables are very cheap, but canned products and imported goods are relatively pricey. The odd thing though is that as far as I have been able to observe, people really don’t eat many vegetables here (though they do eat salad).

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This is my diary. My name is Lev and I work in Kabul for a non-governmental organization (

Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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