Wednesday, July 29, 2009
There are plenty of ups and downs here, and not just when you're climbing around in the mountains. They tell you coming out here that you'll come out strong that first few months - all motivated to make the world a better place. And it's true. I think we all had a feeling of great optimism upon arrival - a feeling that gradually dissipated into disgust and disappointment about halfway through our nine-month deployment. Dealing with the ANA is hard sometimes. I think I've documented that pretty well throughout this blog.... You're warned that these feelings of disappointment and frustration with the local inhabitants and culture will get to you eventually, and it most certainly did, though it never stopped us from doing our jobs and doing them well.
They say those negative feelings about all things Afghan will stay with you until near the end of the deployment when you'll hit a kind of second wind. I have to say, whoever "they" were that made all these prognostications based upon what others have experienced was right again, as I find myself trying to really savor every moment as things wind down. I'm really going to miss a lot of things about this experience, including those little moments like when the ANA were trying to laminate their personnel charts with plastic wrap, and how when we gave them some lamination paper they proceeded to laminate everything they could get their hands on, including their phones.
We've still got a ton of work left to do, especially with the elections coming up, but with the new guys starting to trickle in it's now become hard to avoid the realization that we'll be leaving soon.