We’ve been deployed for a little more than a week now.
The Afghan winter shows us little mercy in terms of temperature and radical weather changes. We’ve been out doing “missions” for almost everyday since our departure from the north, which of course is the reason we are here.
I can’t help but to critisize my every wrong move. It’s easy to get caught up in the ever harassing, perfectionistic and testosterone community this job offers. It also offers low self esteem, maximum irritation and in some ways unhealthy perspectives of life.
In the end though, it sure offers a lot more than that. It offers brotherhood, a very high self esteem and experience in fields no other human outside understand. Everything can be summerized and is transformed into memories never given anywhere else in life.

It is my absolute will to extract peaceful emotions from the back of my mind when irritation and anger seems to be the dominating factor on the day at hand. As nerdy as I could be sometimes, I seriously try to recite the following code to put my mind at ease while taking a deep breath.

     “There is no emotion; there is peace.”
        – The Jedi Code

A question that always ends up in my head in the end of our days is: Does our activity and presence really change anything in this ancient and seemlingly timeless place on earth?
The majority of people in Kabul and other big cities might actually give a shit. They are one part of the twenty percent that actually vote in this country, the other seventy percent really doesn’t bother or even know that they are a part of another big society. To the native and more common farmer out there, we might just be another alien doing wierd stuff, coming here with our technology and shaking their everyday life a bit.
We might still do some good. You can’t expect to change a country over just a few years with this kind of operations.

Some days ago though, we were in one of the very remote villages in the outskirts of Balkh – for the record, an ancient center of trading back in the days of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Even though Marco Polo described the place as a “noble and great city”, the place has long lost its significance. Nowadays, it just resembles ruins and people living in houses made out of mud and sand.
In any case, this village actually gave me hope. Our mission was a bit fuzzy at first, we settled outside a local school to discuss with the elders about their problems and hear them out. Meanwhile, soldiers like me and my comrades held a 360 degree security around the school. The children flocked around us in times and at one time they might have noticed the medical cross on my back, signaling to me that I was a “doctor” of some sorts. I was quietly honoured by their misinterpretation, and signaled to my buddy to hold my sector while I focused on the childrens pleas.
They talked with a tounge that I didn’t understand. But their gestures gave me a hint of what was going on. They wanted help, of course. They pushed forward one of the smaller boys (maybe five or six years old) and he showed me his hands – they were fully covered with small bruises and wounds. I carefully examined him, wondering if I really could help this little soul. It could be a burn or it could be the notorious Leichmaniasis desise given by sand flies.
My squad leader giving me a green signal on my request of helping him, I put on my gloves on and started cleaning and using all the tools I knew I had to make it barable. Under the care, he himself and his friends eyes lit up, putting on a smile aimed at me. It was almost like I was actually helping this little fellow, at least giving him a brighter day to look back to. The feeling was excagirating.
It might just had been me, but when I helped him, all went into focus – there was only me and him. My surroundings were blurred out and I didn’t notice the people around me at first. I really blame myself for that AND acknowledge the potential. Never let your guard down in this country, but the sensation and intense focus I generated was flawless. It occured in just a few minutes, then my head started to fill up with every other problem in the world once more..

I might have helped his hands. I might not. My caring actually could have worsen the wounds on his hands, given I didn’t know the cause of it. It wasn’t really a big deal any way. I just did “something” for a change.
 Altough, I want to believe that this young man chooses not to grow up to become an “insurgent” or “taliban” at first hand that want to pick up a gun and shoot at us at first sight. He might even tell his friends and family not to go that way either.
Either way, I’m letting myself become satisfied with my surroundings for the time being.

I really need to work on my mood and ignore the intense pain when the afghan cold actually hits the very bones of my hands and toes.

May the force be with us.
Lance Corporal Fresh, out.

One Response to “Deployment”

  • Karl Says:

    Emotional as I am – I really enjoyed that story. And I agree on your thoughts at the end and I truly believe that little things like that could stop that kid from becoming a Taliban at first hand.

    Hope the Afghan winter has become a bit less merciless for you and your brothers.


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