Afghanistan Diary
Monday, June 27, 2005
  Last week

Last week-end, we went on a trip. Hafiz, the driver with whom we went to Mazar a few months back, invited us to see his family.

We first went to Iskalef, a small town renowed for its ceramics (we bought a few), then to his house which was located not far from there. Hafiz stays in Kabul during the week and come home on the week-end. The extended family lives in the house. It goes without saying that we did not get to see any women. We met three of his brother, the most interesting of which is a former mudjahedeen turned gardener and also quite a pothead. He made a beautiful garden. He was a little upset that we immediately pointed out the cannabis plant "all these flowers and you need to point out the cannabis plant!" Afghans love their flowers it seem and people take real pride in them. Close to the garden was a dirty pound which up to twenty years ago was the only source of water. Today however, they have a well (possibly made by DACAAR).

We ate lunch with the brothers and the father, afgham style, that is on the floor with our hands. As is often the case in muslim countries, the youngest brother got to do all the work. I hope that the women in the house had food of their own. I am saying this because I once ate with a very conservative kurdish family and as I was going for a second serving, my friend wispered to me to leave some food for the women, since they got to eat what the men's left.

Hafiz is a very nice guy, he tried his best to speak Dari in a way that we could understand (my dari really sucks but I understand a little. To put it more positively, I have advanced guessing skills).

After lunch, we went back to the garden and everybody enjoyed his favorite drugs (we brought some vodka). I thought I handled mine really well, until I spoke the wrong language to my companions and had the greatest difficulties in putting on my shoes.

On the way back, we stopped at one of Hafiz's friend house. The man, owned quite a bit of land. He had four fives (he was separated from one and looking to replace her) and eighteen children! It is not so much a house as a village really. The thing that was sad is that one of his kids was death-mute and I can't see how, in that context he will ever learn how to speak, read or for that matter, how he will ever go to school.

The man also had a horse with whom he plays buzkashi and two fighting dogs. He was very concerned to keep a safe distance between us and the dog. Perhaps he has seen what they can do. One of them (a bull with many scars on its face ) looked friendly though.

It has been a shamefully long time that I haven't written and this story is already pretty old. Truth is I haven't got that much to say. My boss is cracking the whip at the moment and I struggle to finish my lousy assignment. I also work on my pda-gps data gathering project. It is working well, but there is still work left to do. I have been working all this week-end but at least I finished one of the two project my boss buggs me about. I am hoping that the user did not say it was complete just because they were too lazy to actually test them.

I will try to spend a long week-end in Peshawar or Islamabad soon. I was thinking of stopping over in Pakistan for a few days on my way to New Mexico, but I checked the itinerary and it did not make sense. The only affordable trip through Pakistan I saw had seven connections, all pretty tight. No thanks. I will have to go through Dubai. I am debating whether or not to stop. It does not strike me as an interesting destination, but on the other hand, I have never been.

I am starting to be in a mood to go back to New Mexico. I have a phone interview for a job this coming monday.

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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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