This has been, overall, an intersting week. Admittedly some of the subjuects covered would have benefitted from more than the obligatory 1 hour lecture, and others could certainly have been less (or in fact dropped!!).
On the one hand I found the Afghan culture and language lectures did more than just pique my interest. Delivered by two well educated and, to my mind, sincere Afghan scholars, they portrayed a country of vastly varied cultures and views, with much to learn yet much to teach. Most interesting to me was their overall belief and optimism that we are helping by being there and that, in time, we will succeed in providing a peaceful and stable country for them to return to.
My only hope is that we, as (to all intents) an occupying force, can fulfil those hopes and (in sh’allah) provide them with a home to return to.
On the other hand, I now realise how much I need to do, both physically and mentally, before I deploy, in order to feel safe in the knowledge that I am up to the task ahead.
In the long run I will, in the best tradition of the military, make do with what I have, but I’m confident that, after this week, I am better prepared than before, and on the right path to be ready when the time comes.