A ball that went poof

We completed the last prep day before it is show time tomorrow. We had one more meeting with the General Director to make sure we are all singing from the same sheet. There are a number of grey areas, mostly related to Terms of Reference, Mission, and a series of proposals towards new and different organizational structures that are mandated for the far future but the process by which the transformation will happen is unclear. The process is confounded by the fact that the local staff doesn’t have experience with the proposed new structures and the foreigners are giving different advice, depending on which donor or agency they work for. No wonder people get confused (including me).

While we were waiting in the DG’s office my colleague from Taiwan explained about a concept in her culture that distinguishes capital letter Me from lower cap me. Capital letter Me is about my contribution, in this case here, to the health of Afghans. Sometimes, as a result of big Me’s commitment, small me suffers a bit – in my case, going on crutches to Afghanistan and living the somewhat complicated life of a one-legged person in this country.

But then I see a man, whose lower body is missing, on a little plank with wheels, trying to cross the street and I realize that I am in pretty good shape. I can’t imagine how this man is keeping himself alive. It’s painful to watch him. Yet he carries a smile on his face as he ducks between cars. From our high SUV we can hardly seem him as we get closer as he is so near the ground, but our driver sees him and steers around him.

A little further down the road a fat little boy ran behind a soccer ball that his friend had kicked across the street. Traffic goes slow so he wasn’t in danger but his ball was as it ended up exactly below our wheels and expired with a loud poof. The boy’s face fell and I told the driver that he just killed a soccer ball and that I would report him to driver Fazle who is a soccer coach of Afghanistan’s national team. I am glad it was only a ball although I felt sorry for the boys. There’s not much space for them to kick balls. Childhood in Afghanistan is no picnic.

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January 2014
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