Thursday, December 3, 2009

“The difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a little longer."

Here at Kandahar, life is dusty and involves negotiating your way through the day by trying to help the people and get them what is needed.

The pace at the dusty end of the world is hectic and runs at a frenetic pace. Each person you encounter has a mission and is trying to get the essential items they need to get where they are going, and accomplish their daily tasks. In many respects, some of the items are simple (food, a place to stay, a phone call home). Places to stay are the most important of these items as there are basic accommodations, (tents) shared by 40-50 people packed into with cots (no privacy, little comfort) and then there are CANS - Shipping Containers modded into basic dorm rooms. The CANS also have a shower room (common use) and a bathroom(also common use).

Accommodations are split with one compound having Males and another separate one for Females. The best of these are the WET CANS which means a Dorm room with separate private bathroom/shower attached. Mostly these are for the Females and occasional VIPs who might need to be here short term. I was lucky that when I arrived, a HR person had just checked out, and I inherited his CAN. It is a Basic CAN but beats the life out of co-workers who I traveled in with who got the Tents and are still there awaiting openings in the CANS.

Some items needed/ desired are more complicated like computers, access to the network, cell phones and vehicles. These are the real tough items as they are in short supply and HIGH demand. The ability to have these items is controlled by who you know and who's looking out for you. If your supervisor/Dept head has the access, and get these items set-up, life can be better for you. If not, there can be many frustrating days of "doing without" which can make the time here very very very aggravating. Try doing your job without the basic tools - This would be like sending a carpenter to build you a shed without a hammer, nails or a saw. You will have a pile of wood sitting there and he'll be asking where are the tools. All you can do is give him the basic answer " They are enroute.." or hopefully, find the items here and source them from whatever place possible....It is a hit or miss proposition. This place is like Captain Kirk asking why there are no Photon Torpedoes and the acting Captain telling him " They'll be here Tuesday".

I'm getting used to this place but the disconnects between what is needed and what we are getting can make it frustrating. We are expecting hundreds more based on what the Customer (US Army) wants and what we will need to accomplish to keep them happy. It is a work in progress...and progress is fought for one meeting, discussion and e-mail at a time.

Oh yeah, did we forget to tell you there are 30,000 more warfighters coming in here between now and summer?? Sorry that little detail was left out of the SITREP you got a week ago....seems like some guy in Washington D.C. added that to the list of things to accomplish ASAP. Days are long and mine starts at 06:00 (up at 5:15- out to work starting at 06:00) and ends at 20:00 with a ride back to my CAN.....Somehow a sign stating " CAN SWEET CAN" on the wall would just be too weird. Nothing is easy over here....

The US Navy Seabees have a saying, “The difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a little longer." ...That goes double for anything over here.

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