Afghanistan Diary
Sunday, July 03, 2005
  On butchers and more...

Today as I went to lunch, I walk passed a few butcher stalls. As is often the case, one of the stall had a large furry carcass hanging from a pole, more or less in the shade, while its headless end was dragging on the floor. Next to it was a living cow. When I came back from lunch, the later was gone. Where did it go?

There are many flocks of sheep going through the city here. I don’t know if you have had the opportunity to look at a sheep up close, but they have the most ridiculous oversized buttocks, moving back and forth as they walk. I mention this because somebody told me that in parts of Afghanistan, sheep buttocks are a treat given to honored guests. Having heard of so many strange and disgusting foods given to honored guests in various parts of the world, I wonder though, how many of these were just locals have a little fun at the expense of foreigners.

I had my job interview yesterday and it left me puzzled and disappointed. It is not that I did badly, I think, but it was nothing like I expected. I imagined that the interview would be roughly 1/3 technical questions (which I could answer well), 1/3 project management question (which I can at least talk my way through) and a 1/3 personal questions of the type “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Instead, there was at most 25% of technical and project management questions combined and the rest was just really flakey stuff, like “Give a specific example of a situation where you convinced somebody to adopt your point of view.”

I answered as I could, but there is no good or wrong answer to these questions so I find it impossible to say how well I did. Truth be told, I am a little put off now. I am not sure I still want this job so badly. The other thing is that the job deals largely (not exclusively though) with ColdFusion and I am fed up to code in CFML, I have done it for too long. I haven’t heard from any other job I applied for.

I have been interviewing for my replacement at work. So far, all expats candidates have turned down the offer on the ground that the salary was too low, and the afghan candidates have have salary expectations that are way above what DACAAR initially intended to pay (and for that matter they are also above what I get paid). I really did not come here for the money, but somehow this does not make me feel good.

I am still hoping for it, but I don’t think that I will be able to go to Peshawar or Islamabad before I go. Next week-end is my last in Kabul and I need it to finish my gps-c#-pocket pc project. I may take an extra day off to buy gifts and souvenirs, etc.

 
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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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