So after checking in we had our second breakfast with hosts Ajay (CSU) and Habib (Ministry of Ag, Afghanistan). Habib is a smiling cheerful guy with a deep belly chuckle that makes you smile even when you’re jet lagged out to wazoo. I ask him about his family: 1 wife, 20 kids. “!!??” Well actually 6 kids (3 boys, 2 girls) but it feels like 20 he says.
Calvin and I finished preparing our presentations and handouts for a printed manual for the attendents. We discussed the workshop approach with Ajay a number of times and think we’re slowly getting clear on how it should be delivered. Calvin and I are really looking forward to meeting our Extension counterparts for Afghanistan and Pakistan. We just need our bags to be at the airport first thing as promised so we can provide handouts and do our demonstrations. Apparently Dubai’s baggage handling computer dropped a cog last night and sent about 20 different plane’s baggage to the wrong plane. Fortunately our bags aren’t in Nairobi or Yemen but stuck in Dubai. Fingers crossed they are on tomorrow’s morning flight.
We had a “10 minute” security briefing with Mr. Rick Taylor, the Hotel Deputy Manager. if there’s one thing Rick likes more than tattoos and managing security, it’s military jargon and acronyms. My favorite was “Mas Cal” which I guess is short for a bomb just turned you all into bolognaise. Actually it was very informative and quite interesting and Rick assured us that we were in one of the safest facilities in the country. I believed him - I wouldn’t dare not believe him - and don’t doubt I sleep soundly and safely tonight.
This afternoon we got to drive around a bit and saw a bit of Kabul proper. Calvin and I were impressed with how much fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and bread were for sale in stores and by street vendors. People looked poor in certain neighborhoods, but they didn’t look hungry. We stopped and grabbed the two ubiquitous forms of flatbread, a pancakey round bread and a light wheaty long bread. Both were warm, light, and just flat out scrumptious.
At a high point on the edge of downtown next to the Intercontinental Hotel we were able to stop and take some photos. Taking photos in Kabul isn’t common and it’s easy to feel over scrutinised for trying. Nassarey, our escort told the guards we were in “the wedding party” to get us onto the hotel ground. It must of been some wedding as we hadn’t shaved or changed for 3 days. Got some great evening shots though looking down on the city.
Now it’s bedtime and I am pretty beat. Tomorrow we start the workshop and I’m really looking forward to it.