Kittens Against Terrorism
August 19, 2007

 
I've moved on from fear to boredom. Thank goodness for BBC Radio 2... and for a guest house that makes me feel oh-so-safe. There's only one side of our compound that has a wall exposed to the street, and all the other walls are shared by equally-secure compounds of one kind or another. If I truly got out-of-my-mind stir crazy, I can use our private door to go over to the Maple Leaf Inn compound and have dinner and watch people play tennis.

And thank goodness for kittens! I brought CC and Ya Ya (that's what I'm calling her. I don't know why.) into my room and watched the kitten romp all over the room. It was like he/she a Mexican jumping bean. Just when I thought he/she couldn't amuse me more, Ya Ya saw his/herself in the mirror. That was another 10 minutes of hilarity.

CC and I had proper naps on Friday and today. Usually, she just laid around a bit in my room after supper, but never for long, and she never really slept. But Friday and today, while I was home for most of the day, she came by after lunch and we both *really* slept, CC with her head on my arm. I have so missed having a cat... they are so cute when they are asleep! I feel like it was a kind of reward to me, that she really does now complete trust me (I know she naps with Jean, the French guy here, quite frequently). I sat out for a while in the evenings and on Friday and Sunday afternoon with CC and Ya Ya. Jean just came back from a very long leave and was thrilled to see the kitten. I've been assured by everyone that they will be well taken care of. I was going to arrange for CC to get fixed, but I've been told by a visiting vetinarian here that Afghan vetinarians aren't very good at spaying - neutering, yes, but not spaying. Even if I were staying longer, there's no way to round up the feral male cats around here for spaying.

Naps are such good things, particularly when the power goes out. The guest house generator pooped out three times today. Not sure why, since I'm the only guest here today - everyone else, who works for other UN agencies, worked. Packing is also a good activity for no power. I have two suitcases to pack, and one is already done. I'm eyeing my remaining things and hoping there is enough room in the other case... although I have a third small duffel bag that I can use for any leftovers. I've leaving a lot of things for one of the Peruvians here - my hot water boiler, my dishes, and any leftover food.

Something I should have said in my last blog - right after the head of administration apologized on behalf of his entire country and religion and assured us that kidnapping was a part of neither, he pretty much ruined the moment by proudly saying that Afghans and Germans were "ethnically the same" and asking if we knew all that Afghanistan and Germany had in common? We just smiled and thanked him and shuffled him out the door... Last night, the Irish security guy here opened up several bottles of red wine from his private stash, and a group of us ordered Chinese food, and generally had a really nice evening. I should have done that more often with this crew - they are a great bunch, from Ireland, Serbia, Peru (two from there, actually), various African countries, and on and on. As usual, I'm the only American. I didn't more often because their favorite night to get together is Friday nights - they don't work on Saturdays, but I do. Or did!

I had an interesting conversation with a Ugandan woman here that night. African women have a really hard time in Afghanistan, harder than probably any other aid worker: Afghan men think they are "easy." Never mind that African women I have known have been consistently conservative, religious and incredibly respectable. Men and boys will just reach right over and touch their arm or hair. Or worse. My Ugandan friend hasn't been wearing a headscarf, and I really pushed her to wear it more. I hate the stupid thing, but it will garner you more respect if you wear it here. And it's not like you have to wear it tightly around your head and hide all your hair - just a loose cover will do. She was really down about wearing it more - for non-Muslim women, it's just really hard, because of, for us, what it symbolizes. But I think she will, indeed, wear it more.

So... NO comments on the photos? I am stunned.

I had hoped I was not going to leave Kabul before the Koreans, but that's what it looks like. And the German guy. And the German woman. I can't believe that messages are still being made to The Thorn Tree on Lonely Planet by chipper people who want to take a road trip across Afghanistan and feel that summer hiking in Nepal has prepared them for such. Adventure tourists can be *really* annoying sometimes.

As I sat outside with the kittens, I heard several distant explosions. Hope it was the usual: the blowing up of devices found at various points throughout town, at the airport.

Tomorrow is my last full day here. I fly out Tuesday. I know I keep saying that, but I keep getting emails asking me, "So, when do you fly out?" So I thought I'd repeat it.

No plans this evening. Just more packing and giving things away.

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