Afghanistan Diary
Thursday, May 26, 2005
  On awful food and others things
Food is generally pretty good in Afghanistan. What they serve is not particularly surprising or unique (lots of stewy things, pilau rice, kebabs of all kinds, yogurt, etc.) but it is nice.

I have however tasted two dishes that were truly terrible. One was mantu from a street vendor. Mantu is, short of a better description, a kind of “ravioli” served with a white sauce. I loved this dish when I was in Turkey and I was looking forward to eating it again. Only it did not taste the same, this Afghan mantu had a overwhelming taste of rancid cream. I had to eat at least some of it, so as not to offend the seller, but it took me great pain to achieve this without throwing up.

Today was my second bad experience. There was a little gathering to celebrate my colleague’s promotion. Somebody came around with some “biscuits.” They were solid like a rock and the pungent smell of rotten cheese should have commanded prudence on my part, but I paid no attention to it. I took a large bite and immediately spit it out, putting aside any attempt to remain polite. Are you sure this stuff is for eating? Soap would have tasted better (and yes, I have tried it, although I don't care to explain when and how). It took me many cups of tea to wash off the taste.

I met with my supervisor’s boss today. She said that if I wanted to stay there was a possibility that DACAAR would help me with the cost of my place ticket. I don’t know how risky for me it is to do so, but coming back to the US before six months, then leaving again, is an option that might just work in terms of immigration. The question is: do I want to do so? I will give it some thought over the week-end.

Bureaucracy is a pain at DACAAR as in the rest of Afghanistan, no doubt. It took me thirty-five minutes to withdraw some money (my money!) from my employee account and I had to thank the treasurer for allowing me to do so without all the required signatures.

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

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Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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