It’s been two years to the day since I first arrived in Kabul. As part of my anniversary celebrations I’ve been dwelling on the impact I’ve had on this country (egotistical of me I know, but then blogging seems to do that to me). Here are ten random things I’ve done to change the world around me:
1.Living in a house modest by many expat standards but that has still helped lead to a huge rise in house prices in Kabul, benefiting a few but forcing out many more from affordable housing in their own city.
2.Tempting qualified Afghans out of service to their own government with hugely better pay at an INGO.
3.Failing to build the capacity of those people, in a position that will be filled by another expat rather than someone I have trained to replace me.
4.Failing to even have the common decency of learning the local languages, and having only the scantiest knowledge of a country on which I am experimenting with ill-informed development projects.
5.Taking a large cut of the budget of those development projects as my salary, most of which I will take home with me.
6.Treating my life as more valuable than those of my staff.
7.Drinking in an Islamic country and generally being a bad influence as well as an example of the debauchery and gross-oppulance of the West. Not good for long-term cross-cultural understading that one.
8.Flying about too much and demanding electricity from the generators and generally contributing to a lot of carbon emissions in a country that will probably be devastated by climate change.
9.Eating scarce food when others around me starved.
10.Bitching about all and sundry, how various policies will lead to the downfall of this country, but doing nothing to suggest better alternatives.
*With an affectionate nod to Spike Milligan for the title.