The closing of our FY 2011 Zaranj City Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project was completed with the opening of their brand new sports complex. We built this along with a bunch of other infrastructure for the municipal authorities for (in the big scheme of USAID things) peanuts.
After a few fighting demonstrations Governor Barahwi stood; said a few words to the assembled teams and was off. We were right behind him and I have to admit it was a bittersweet afternoon. Saying my goodbyes to all the elders and officials who worked with and supported us over the years was tough. We were pulling out and nothing is coming in behind us. As I said in my last post these people are now on their own but late that evening some of them dropped off a gift.
The beer felt like it just came out of a pizza oven is was so hot so we threw it into the two freezers we have up on the second deck and waited for an hour. But it turned out we were on city power which isn’t strong enough to run the freezers so now everything in them to room temperature. I went downstairs and tell the night guards to turn on the big generator so we can run the freezers. They said no because they can only run the big generator for eight hours a day. I ask who told them that and they said “you did”. I explained that we have a case of beer but can’t get it cold which is an emergency for us infidels. They knew that and said they were not turning on the generator. I threatened to shoot them but they laughed at me and countered with a request for two beers each before turning on the generator. I smiled the wolf smile and threatened to call Zabi down because his Dad is the senior Mullah for the Province and no fan of demon rum. They balked and turned on the big gen but I gave them each a beer anyway just for being good sports.
We started drinking them down warm; the last few were chilled but this was typical – nothing and I mean nothing is easy in this country, yet somehow things always work out. The parting gift was a considerate gesture – we’re going miss our friends in Zaranj.