I’m currently writing this as I lay in the sand in the middle of nowhere. The sun is beating down on us through our improvised sun shade, sand circulates with every breath of warm air that helps us to rest our sweaty dirty bodies. This is only day two and already the Taliban are not the only enemy out here, the sand gets in every place possible and as the heat rises, so does the discomfort. We have a time window of pain out here in the desert, from 6 am as the last part of the cool night turns to dawn, till 6 pm, it’s as if the devil himself opens the gates of hell and the heat fills the landscape with 40+ degrees of heat. During this 12 hour window, the growls of discomfort echo from each vehicle, “this is shit” one says “I hate fucking sand and armour” (reference to the vehicles we use) another says. Throughout the day, we rest, we close our eyes to think of all the good about being at home brings us (loved ones, family, real food, cool air, cold water and a shower) and then we open our eyes to the reality of where we are just as our lungs are filled with the dry heat and sand followed by a gulp hot water to rehydrate. It’s now late afternoon, the sun is at its highest, hottest and most fierce, another roll of sweat leaves my body collecting sand, as I rub my eyes to remove yet more sand and convince myself to take another sip of warm bottled water I suddenly realise I have 5 more hours to survive until the devil closes his gates for another night and the cool air will allow me some sleep.
This is my life and this is Afghanistan.