As I stepped of the helicopter I’m greeted by the intense heat that my new home will provide me over the forthcoming weeks, I’m also hit by the intense heat as I’m carrying my bag and bergan (army backpack) that is my life as I run down the tail gate and hit by the heat of the helicopters engines turning 40 degrees into something that could be only compared to as a moment in hell. As I move away from the helicopter, she lifts of into the air only to be seen again when it my time to return home, that thought and vision can’t come soon enough I think to myself.
Before I know it I’m met by familiar sand covered smiling faces, friends who have been here a few weeks before me and I’m greeted by familiar sayings like “alright war dodger” and “what took you so long”. I’m taken to my tent which will be my mansion for however long I’m here, I take my gear off, drop my bags down next to my folding camp bed and mosquito dome, sit down and realise Camp Bastion is now a distant memory and this is my life before I’m quickly shown around the camp.
As I walk around the camp, I’m surrounded by thick hesco (metal framed containers holding sand and stone) stacked on top of each other and covered by barbed wire, it’s our small fortress in the desert that protects us all each day, there are manned positions everywhere, young men and women stand guard in these small towers 24/7 each day allowing us freedom to live and work. You soon realise where you are, what dangers lie outside these walls and what we are really here for, outside somewhere are the Taliban.
As I settle into life, I unpack, relax and make my home, this place is not renowned for its 5 star facilities, but what it does have will make life comfortable as can be. It has what we need and anything more would be an added bonus, for such a small fortress in the middle of nowhere, it’s amazing what people can do, the chefs produce amazing food with basic ingredients for 3 amazing meals a day, people have made areas to relax and unwind, table tennis tables out of nothing, laundry areas, washing lines and the toilets or should I say bag are a sight to believe as always (see the photos and you’ll see what I mean).
It is our own palace in the desert, but to anyone else its just a wall of sand, sand and dust with dirty soldiers living in it.
So I hope you enjoy the next few images and can get a feel of how we live, eat and relax in our palace in the middle of nowhere.
Regards Project Afghan.