My last week in Kabul was quite interesting to say the least. Besides the rocket attack, I had to pack out, clean out my office, introduce my replacement around Kabul, and have a going away party which was then rescheduled. Packout was relatively low key - because I could bring 2000 pounds to Kabul (and only brought about 1200 of which 600 was food), I only had 700 pounds or so to pack out - and most of that was carpets. Introductions in Kabul happened mostly by email since most of our usual weekly meetings were cancelled due to security that week. Cleaning out my office - well, a big garbage can is all you need to move quickly on that front.
But the going away party - that was by far the
hardest part - and not for me.
My colleagues did so much work to buy food, create a guest list, invite everyone, and then re-invite all the guests through calls and emails after the rocket attack, deliver the invitations, and host the guests the night of the event. It made me feel VERY appreciated. We had more than 80 guests (I think) and it was really fun - journalists, representatives of the Afghan government, local staff, American staff, UN, military and other representatives from NGOs. I even had the Ministries of Defense and Interior representatives give me plaques to say thanks. The Ambassador was a gracious host to let us use his house and we were socializing so much, we had to be kicked out. It was a pleasure to end on such a high note.
I don't know that everyone gets to feel a part of a team, that their work made a difference, that they made real friends and connections. It was the best way to close out a tough year and prepare for the next stage.
I can't thank everyone enough for reading this blog and letting me share my experience. I am going to be serving the next few years in Buenos Aires, Argentina and will be finding a new way to keep in touch. It may be a blog, or just emails with friends, but I appreciate the time you took to read my words and go on this journey with me. Stay safe and I wish you all the same kinds of rewarding professional and personal experiences in your lives. All the best. Kerri