Afloat

The complexity of the work here can sometimes overwhelm any sense of duty, responsibility, idealism, optimism and what not. Today was such a day. Where to begin? I read the newspaper and it is full of things that didn’t work out as planned, that misfired, that got waylaid with criminal intent, that never got off the ground or that went unnoticed. How about this for a front page headline: Karzai seeks honest US support in anti-corruption drive! (grrr)

The newspaper retains its balance, somewhat, by always having a provincial news page. It is written by, what I assume are the communication people, the PR folks at the Provincial Rehabilitation Teams. They write in good English (unlike most other pages of the newspaper) and their stories are always upbeat, encouraging, heartwarming, optimistic. They write about small do-good projects like pizza parties for the local kids, a visit by women soldiers to women in purdah, a school, a bridge built, and locals doing things for themselves now that the foreigners used to do for them. Often I read that page first, for therapeutic reasons, but today it didn’t help.

Sometimes I can write like that in my blog, and I have done so many times, but not today. Today was a day marked by people second guessing me without asking, by not being asked for my opinion, by walls, things to run into and I came home a bit bruised – the empty house didn’t help, except for Axel’s email about the excitement of the Fourth of July – he is in the parade on one of the floats. I try to imagine him. Me, I am floating on a wave of self pity.

The visit to India on Thursday is timely, a moment of respite, a psychological breather. At first permission was not granted but the decision was reversed, thank god. During my preparations I realized a bit late that I will need to take malaria pills. I have gotten out of the habit and threw away my last Malarone tablets because they were two years past their expiration date. Not something to ignore when dealing with a serious disease like malaria. I have never gotten malaria pills here because the malaria areas are out of bounds anyways. My public health friends in Boston sent me advice on what to take that can be obtained here – doxycycline, bad for the stomach but also bad for the parasite.

Sitting in an airconditioned living room with all but one of my favorite things around me I am floating upwards a bit again. There is much work to be done before takeoff on Thursday and a good night sleep seems just the right thing.

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