Back in Afghanistan and a burial.

So, we are back.

We arrived Thursday PM, after two days in sweltering, crazy, fasting Dubai. Women in tight tops and women in the full niqab, eyes barely visible through the narrow slits. Men in shorts and men in dishdashye, shining white. Everyone hot and thirsty. Because of Ramazan, if we were out of the guest house, we had to hide in public toilets to eat. Getting caught eating in public lands you a 2000 dirham fine and time in jail. Such is Dubai.


Kabul is predictably dry and dusty. I immediately started to get Afghan Nose (the condition of  excessive fingering of one’s nostrils because of the dusty dry air, resulting in nose-bleeds, dusty boogers and furtiveness).


And yesterday, we buried Tom and Dan, the two men of the Nuristan Eye team who had requested that Afghanistan be their resting place, should they die here. I, along with three others carried Tom’s body to the grave in the Christian cemetery, and then he was lowered into the ground alongside Dan.

When we first came here, in 1996, we stayed with Tom and Libby, and last year, we were at his 60th.

It was a long, sad day.


5 thoughts on “Back in Afghanistan and a burial.

  1. That really makes it close to home. I share your sorrow and sadness.

    In other depressing news Australia has a hung parliament with Abbott almost certain to be the new PM! In a minority govt at least, 5 independents in the House of Reps, 4 with National backgrounds and for the first time ever, a Green.

    Take care

  2. I am sad for you, but I’m glad you were part of the final chapter for these men. A very good testament, if you ask me.

    I’ve been to Dubai a few times while in the US Navy. Interesting place…I’ll leave it at that!

  3. Hey Phil,

    Not a very nice welcome home!! Last respects in person is so much better but very, very hard. Thinking of you all. You did not go snow boarding in Dubai on the way through then?

    Take care, I will get on to the Skype soon.

    Cheers Nick

  4. Hi Phil,

    Just introducing myself as a subscriber to your post. I picked up a reference to you post from where I am not sure and on reading it decided to RSS to my reader. So here I am.

    My name is Brian Member. I am involved in a church reaching out to a disadvantaged suburb south of Wollongong. I have been here for ages and intend to be here for a while yet to come. While our situations are very, very different I also think there is some similarity in what we are doing; if nothing more than others asking each of us’why on earth would you want to go there and work among those people?’

    Anyway mate, just though I’d let you know I am interested in what you do and what you say as a sort of an acquaintance from afar. Perhaps we will meet one day.

    Cheers mate,

    • Hi Brian. Thanks for taking the time to write and read. I’ll have a read at your blog too, as soon as I get the wasps out of my hair (local expression). And yes, the downwardly mobile path is pretty counter-cultural. We are certainly finding our decision to return here more interrogated and critiqued than ever before…

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