Afghan Dispatch #3: Compound (Originally Sent on May 9th, 2012)

There’s a phrase commonly associated with the accomplishment of tasks by local labor over here.  “Afghan good enough” is used by Marines to describe a task that by American standards would be shoddy, but by Afghan standards, is a job well done.  We live in a building that is entirely “Afghan good enough.”  Only two rooms have working air conditioners, one in five lights work, flushing the toilet is a three step process, and flies roam the halls by the hundreds.  I should mention that the building is less than two years old. 
 
For Marines in the field, this place is a mansion.  For folks back home, they’d feel like they just stepped into a 50 year old housing project.  We manage to keep our area fairly clean, and with a liberal application of Simple Green and fly strips, in pretty doggone squared away.  Stepping into the Afghan portions of the building reminds me of the commercials on TV featuring pictures of fly-covered Ethiopians. Cleanliness isn’t forgotten so much as it never existed.  I have Marines that prefer not to go there without a buddy.  The Afghans themselves are mostly friendly, but lack the discipline inherent in our Marines.  Hopefully during our time over here we can change that.
 
Outside, one is constantly reminded of the fact that this is a third world country.  Stagnant water pools in the yard, and the smells of the bazaar outside waft over the walls. Even as rundown as this building is, it’s still the nicest one in town. More on that later.  Ta Ta for now
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