Soiree with Rice

Dinner at the police chief"s compound (Photo: Heimken)

“I’m so full, I can’t breathe when sitting down“. That was my commentary after our first adventure outside the wire.

I had just finished my last blog entry when Axel turned up behind me at the computer booth with a piece of news: He had talked to Captain Perkins and we were invited to join him and two of his lieutenants for a meal with the local police chief in an hours time!

The problem was that we only just had dinner. Two man size burritos with loads of meat and sauce and rice. My first thought was that I couldn’t possibly go have a meal with Afghan dignitaries with the imminent danger of throwing up.

I went back to our hut and lay down to digest the burritos and prepare for some goats meat.

At 7.00 p.m. we met the by the TOC. Axel said Lieutenant Martin had tried to bottle out of the soiree, but Perkins had then directly ordered him to tag along. We picked up the interpreter from his shack and walked with headlamps lighting the way through the concertina wire out to the pretty banged up and run down police building.

We walked in took of our boots off and walked into the little dining room.

The police chief had two visitors himself, from Orgun to the South West from here. Two pretty wild looking guys, who held some sort of official positions in that city. A little TV set was running in one corner in the other stood an AK-47 assault rifle. We all took a seat on the cushions on the floor along the walls.

A guy with a silver pot and a water can came in we washed our hands one after the other.

One of the chief’s deputies came in with a plastic table cloth with Naan bread in it that was spread out in front of us. Then they served rice with raisins, self made French fries and bits of goats meat. Each of us got a can of 7 Up to go with it.

We started eating with our fingers trying our best not to loose half the pay load of rice between tray and mouth, trying hard for it to somehow look natural. Through the interpreter Perkins and the chief started firing off one compliment after the other.

We started feeling like one big family.

The police chief was adamant he would like to invite his friends over for dinner every night if he could. To top things Perkins invited the police chief and his men for a big BBQ with flares in some days time.

Our engagement ended after an hour and some glasses of heavily sugared green tea, served with extremely hard nuts. Our first intercultural encounter was a lot of fun actually.