Halfway into my shift and I am dragging!
The Egyptian Hospital is always a rip-roaring mass chaos start to the day and between the hyperness of the kids and my getting up in the middle of the night, I am seriously hurting with 5 hours left in my shift. So take it for what you will, but my teammate and I were the ONLY two volunteers at the Egyptian Hospital today, apart from one US solider in full battle rattle which was unsettling. The only other Western civilian person was a woman who works for the State Department in Women and Gender Studies. I had divided several of the bulk beading kits that you donated into smaller plastic bags, each with a section of plastic string, so that each kid could make their own jewelry. The State Department civilian who speaks Dhari, my teammate and I got all the kids settled down after they started circling me like hyenas when they realized they were doing to get a gift. We were able to maintain order about half way round the circle and then maddness broke loose, honestly when the Afghan women started clambering for the bags. Chaos ensued and one of the women actually made off with the remaining bags! Fortunately she only got away with a few. I honestly wasn't too bothered by the whole thing. Most of the kids got a bag and many of them quietly settled down and started making their bracelets and necklaces together which really made my heart smile.
It was a good learning experience though. It is almost impossible to distribute things in an orderly fashion, especially when the Afghan women become involved. The civilian told me that it killed her to see the Afghans, the grown women in particularly, fighting the children to get whatever they could for free, even a plastic bag full of beads for making jewelry. She was fascinating to talk to as well, and I hope to spend more time with her. She told me that she has been tasked with “empowering women” but she cannot even begin such a task for how foreign this concept is to the Afghan women. She said that their lack of education is so profound that the concept of empowerment does not even exist.
So after the hospital it was back to the office for a team meeting which went surprisingly well. I think our team leader was ready for tears with the upcoming housing move, but everyone held it together. The meeting went a lot longer than we had anticipated but we still managed to go scarf shopping at a new bizarre which made the day seem more like a weekend!
Now I just have to get through the rest of my shift, past the “witching hour” when they like to launch things at us, and I am ready for bed!