Friday, April 3, 2009

Afghan Sense of Humor -- They Have it BAD!

This past week saw April Fools Day. And believe it or not, a couple of my translators really got into it. While I was out of the office at a meeting, the two younger guys told the other two interpreters that I had received complaints about all the translators' performance. They were drinking too much chai (tea) and talking too much. In addition to that, their translations took to long. Since they were being so unproductive, we were letting a couple of them go and before lunch, the letters would be delivered.

After I returned to the office from my meeting, the room was deathly quiet. This is really serious stuff afterall. Our interpreters make more money than an Afghan Major General, so losing this job would be a huge blow to their families. The two younger guys kept looking over their computer monitors grinning at me, knowing the other two were really sweating. They had already prepped the envelopes and placed them in my drawer. Yeah, they got me in on it.

When I next left the office to go down the hall to talk to the Afghan Colonel I work with, I grimly handed the two older guys the envelope and walked out. The scene was reported to me when I came back. With downcast faces and trembling hands they opened the envelopes and read the letters.


When I got back to the office they were all still laughing. All in all the rest of day was not very productive because jokes were played at each other's expense until we went home.

This week's Kabul Scenes

Early Morning Soccer
As we drive past this field at 6AM each day, the game is in full swing.
Exception is rainy mornings.

Sisters Walking to School
With the start of the New Year and more daylight, school is in full swing.

Gathering the Flock of Wee Penguins
If we abandon these people again, scenes like this will be history.
The Taliban don't think girls should be educated.

Talented Lad
Sign painter on the way to a job.

Blogging buddy Momcat didn't think people were smiling enough on the first day of spring. Well, I'm here to prove that Afghans do smile...alot!

Unemployed Taliban?
Well, ok so this guy isn't smiling,
but it's probably because of all the other people smiling.
Maybe he's an unemployed Taliban reminiscing about the good old days
when he could beat women in public.

Are you looking at me?
Well, maybe a bit of a grimace.
No really, he's smiling.
When he saw the camera he pointed to himself to get his picture taken.

There is a sizable Hindu/Sikh population in Kabul.
I'd say he's contemplative. He might be smiling, but
with that dead animal on his face it's hard to tell.

Pretty mommy with new wee one.
Note the cell phone in her hand.

Happy Hazara!
He's pulling a cart with about a ton of rugs,
but he smiled for the camera.

Something really funny in those coconuts!
I almost had to break out the shades for this smile!

Two smiles!
The woman on the right was a good six foot two!
Note the ever-present cell phone.

Aw come on!
You mean you can't see her smile?


Vodka Mom said...

That was FANTASTIC!! You know I love to come visit.

as always- be safe......

Simplicity said...

Well, as you know, I'm an overemotional wreck most of the time and this post made me cry for some reason! The April Fool's part! I can't even imagine how deliriously happy those men must have been to see that instead of packing papers! :)

The photos of the kids wearing their incredible backpacks is wonderful! Your photos are always so inspiring!

I have a small window of time this morning where my computer is working on real time and not lagging so I'm trying to get a post together. Don't hold your breath!

Have a safe, happy, beautiful day. Thanks for showing us this side of things...brilliant!

The Muse said...

Hi J.L!

That one was almost as bad as my "I'm Pregnant" joke a few years back.

About the pictures. I didn't realize coconuts grew there. Also, I thought they did away with the full face coverage for woman.

Have a good weekend and be safe!

Charles Gramlich said...

Great pics, but man that April fool's prank could cause some serious emotional distress.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Eh, they're military. They can take it.

Cool pix as usual.

HoodChick said...

Great pics! Love seeing all the ladies getting humane treatment.

I had to ok your comments on my blog, sorry I was MIA for a while there...

preTzel said...

Beautiful post. I love seeing the many different faces and expressions through your pictures.

Much love and thoughts of safety your way J!

J. L. Krueger said...

Vodka Mom!

Well good, I have lots of ideas to post, just not enough time!


How did we survive without computers back in the dark ages? I'd be lost if mine went down.


Yep, they do grow coconuts here, but in the lower elevations. "Up" here in the Kabul area and higher though, apples are the big crop.

As for the burkhas, they are not required by law and the women can be out an about without a male relative (they could do neither when the Taliban were here). Tajik women almost never wear a burkha, Hazara women sometimes (usually the older ones), but they frequently have them open if they are in their own neighborhoods. Pashtun women (the married ones and widows) almost always wear the burkha and almost never expose their faces.


Yep, they were VERY nervous.


No, our translators are civilians...working hard and hoping to get immigration visas so they can move to the USA.


Yeah I really figured you were "out and about"...seems like several blogging buddies have been "missing in action" lately.


Afghans are among the most friendly, generous and courteous people I've met anywhere in the world. It is a pleasure to be around them.

Clare2e said...

Good effort to collect the smiles, and that joke sounds cruel in the extreme. Did you inform the victims about the Queensbury-regulated response of flaming bags of poop? Those cute pink school backpacks spell little girl power!

Barbara Martin said...

The photos you post are always interesting and these ones were terrific. Love those smiles.

Ello said...

I'm moving slow around the blogosphere these days because I'm besides myself busy until the beginning of May. So I'm late, but I loved this post! And as always the pictures are awesome!

Texanne said...

Thanks so much for the photos and the stories. Inspiring to the max! Wishing you safe & productive days ahead. Tx