Another wonderful post from Mary Smith about her years working in Afghanistan..
In the morning, our breath escaped in great clouds of steam. The mountains to the north were topped by white snow caps, glistening in the early sunshine. With no sounds from other travellers to disturb us we had slept late and it was after eight o’clock before Khudadad, went in search of transport.
I watched a donkey train being led into the compound. Two very young ones frisked around playfully, kicking their heels and nipping at the necks of the older donkeys. They bore this abuse stoically before suddenly nipping back, in a far from playful fashion.
Khudadad returned, saying he’d finally tracked down a driver who was going past our destination on his way further north. We would leave around midday. He looked depressed. ‘Well, that’s good, isn’t it?’ I asked. ‘Even with a late start we can still reach Lal today can’t we?’
He nodded, ‘Yes, yes, we can reach Lal today.’ I’d still not fully learned the Afghan habit of giving an answer the person asking most wanted to hear, with a disconcerting disregard for truth. I accepted his reply, assuming his desolation was only in having to travel in another boneshaker rather than a Mercedes.
We sat outside where it was warmer in the sunshine than in our ice box of a room and watched the donkeys. The littlest one had by now decided that the compound was no longer big enough, it was boring, and he wanted to see the world. Off he went, out of the compound and down the lane towards the bazaar. ‘We better catch him,’ said Khudadad, and we gave chase. By the time we reached the main street the donkey was galloping along, hotly pursued by his master and a couple of passers-by.
Please head over to enjoy in full… wonderful