When we used to live in Northern Afghanistan, I wrote a piece on how to stay happy in Afghanistan. Its basic message was move to progressively worse, less developed and more isolated places every so often. In doing this, you always have something better to look forward to, and you can take holidays in the places your previously lived in, experiencing them now as places of sophistication and development. Then, when you have reached the absolute bottom of the pile and are essentially living in as bad a place as you can stand, you reverse the process and move to nicer places.
A good model and one we followed for a while. Living in Kabul, it is easy to feel like life is tough – which is why it is timely to read about our old friend and colleague who was with us here for many years. She then moved to the Sudan. She writes of a journey she took to a place called Undu (which I think is Arabic for ‘grungy place without water’):
“…We all kept in good health despite a difficult and monotonous diet…..I only ate something green ONCE in the entire month, and there was no fruit either. The water situation was dire, and what we had to drink was the colour of soup. I became expert at washing myself and my hair in half a saucepan full! The transport to Undu, by rickety bus for 3 days each way, was both uncomfortable and dangerous, yet we were all kept safe. I also had to travel on the back of a student’s bike, and in a truck/lorry…”
Now she is doing it tough. Thanks R, you are an inspiration.