Happily, this is more in the realm of historical record, but hopefully still worth a read.
While I am both an optimist and a beleiver that people generally dislike whiners, it seems disingenuous not to post on the subject of "down" days.
Like anywhere else and anyone else there are times when things just don't go your way and it feels like the world is conspiring to ruin your day.
Here, it is not usually work challenges (in their various forms) but the lulls in work and the isolation that take a toll. Having an abundance of free time and limited options on how to utilize it (becoming a SCHMONK) is a recipe for trouble even for non-teens, with the most common outcome being to despair about the challenges facing this country and stewing about where the whole enterprise is headed. If you can find a friend, it is usually possible to start a lively debate, pontificate on what you'd change if you held all the cards, and call it a night. If you have a more honest debate, you will concede that as outsiders we hold very few cards, and that the rural, uneducated masses, with whom we have scant contact or ability to engage, hold a decisive number.
Not finding somebody to lift your spirits with by arguing about HOW and WHEN things will take a turn for the worse then the solitary rumination is likely to produce the a common diplonerd affliction - malaise.
Recent headlines illustrate my point:
Take for instance the "Ethnographic Atlas of Non-Pashtun Ethnic Groups of Afghanistan," published in June by the government-appointed Academy of Sciences Afghanistan.
It notes that "The Hazaras are liars, dishonest, and unreliable people," and "[The] bodies of their women are hairless except on the head. The Hazaras are the sons of Mongol Khans living in the mountains of Afghanistan. These people [know] nothing except fighting." It goes on to describe the Hazaras as "rafizi" -- worse than infidels. Not exactly promoting ethnic harmony...
Citing Kandahar's provincial administration spokesman Jawed Faisal, local media reports said that the arrested children aged 8, 12 and 17 and all from Kandahar, have been taken into police custody for interrogation.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also confirmed the arrest of junior insurgents. In a statement released on June 28, the alliance said that two children and one young adult were arrested while they were found carrying improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"The Afghan National Police took children carrying improvised explosive devices into custody and the Afghan Local Police found multiple IEDs and a large amount of homemade explosives June 28 in Zharay District, Kandahar province," the statement added. The Taliban has been known to tell the children they can kill the foreign troops without being hurt themselves...
As a taxpayer, one of my favorites:
Pakistan's refusal to let NATO access its ports and roads into Afghanistan has cost the Pentagon more than $2.1 billion in extra transportation costs to move supplies and equipment in and out of the country.
Pakistan closed the ground route to NATO supplies after a U.S. airstrike mistakenly killed 24 of its soldiers last November. The only other access to land-locked Afghanistan is through the Northern Distribution Network, a series of roads through Russia and Central Asia. Closure of the Pakistani routes is costing the U.S. military about an extra $100 million per month
BUT - I'm feeling better today, since saying "sorry" allowed the supply routes to open...