Cross Cultural Experiences
It was Nepalese New year two days ago and we were invited to celebration dinner with all my Neps. I walked into their kitchen – a very rough affair in a large shipping container – and was greeted by a huge spread of curries, rice, dahl, naan, shish kebab goat, chutni and grilled and spiced chicken. Loaded up my plate, headed out to sit with the men and shovelled it in, barely pausing to breathe. All of us were thinking the same – it was a welcome change to the slop we are fed for most meals by the client and we can’t wait until our kitchen is finished so we can get the Nep cooks in there and have their food more regularly.
Today the we held a memorial service for those of our number who had been killed while working with us. 5 Neps, 1 Brit and a Fijian. Thankfully there have not been too many but there were certainly enough photos on the shrine to make me stop and think.
Yesterday an LN was carried into the compound from the next door compound belonging to the provider of many of our drivers. I saw him carried in by some friends and he looked dead. Eyes closed, completely limp. I spoke to my medic this morning when I visited the LN in the RAP and was told he had been badly dehydrated – the LNs just don’t drink water. I reckon he may also have something else wrong with him judging by the thousand-yard stare in his eyes and the track marks that were so evident on both his arms. Drugs, unsurprisingly, are a big problem. We have anecdotal evidence that many of the drivers, and even the convoy guards, are smacked out on heroin, crystal meth or hash when doing a convoy. It is very hard to prove this – even though drug paraphernalia is easily seen in their compound. Besides,” what ya gonna do?”
The one thing it makes clear to me is that this country has so many more deeper-seated problems than an aggressive insurgency and, speaking from a purely academic point of view, the Taliban did, largely, clean up the drug problem during their brief reign – now, interestingly, they’ve come 180o and narco-power is one of the weapons in their arsenal. Machiavellian bastards.
Photo of me on our small range going through some AK drills. I have to say it’s good to get 7.62mm back in my hands.