Monday, 6 June 2011

Yesterday we started the day with the Afghan kids at the Egyptian Hospital and it was the typical free-for-all that it is. This time Ingrid and I brought sidewalk chalk and two blow up beach balls. We tried to keep things calm as we handed out the sticks of chalk, and while we were able to keep control initially, inevitably, it soon broke out into chaos and the kids and even the women fought until all the chalk disappeared. I had better luck with the beach ball. Ingrid had the beach ball torn from her hands before we could play with it, but I actually managed to give mine to one girl who successfully blew it up and then several of us when out and tossed it about trying to keep it from hitting the ground. Then an interesting thing happened, some of the boys came over wanting to play and the girls immediately stopped playing and deflated the ball. My suspicion is that the girls thought the boys were going to take over and steal it, which in this extremely patriarchal society is probably a fair guess.

On a different note, the military has finally managed to fix whatever was wrong with their distro list for months, alerting the residents on Bagram of the "Ramp" ceremonies or the Fallen Comrade Ceremonies on the flight line. Now our inbox is full of them.

In the last 24 hours I have been to the equivalent of 6 funerals.

That is positively extraordinary. Last night was for four soldiers killed in a roadside IED. Tonight was two soldiers in a different unit, I don't know how they died. While I am pleased the distro list is now working and while I have every intention of attending every possible ceremony, it is confounding the number of soldiers that are dying out here. The truly incredible thing though is the number of people who thank us for attending. Yesterday we left the flightline with soldier after soldier acknowledging us "thank you Red Cross". I wonder how long I can last until I can't take them any longer with the frequency they are occurring.

No comments: