Mortar at Midnight and a Mongoose
by Seanan Holland
It seems like it’s been a busy couple of weeks, although there has been some down time. Traveling out here is a challenge. It’s not like the bus runs on a regular schedule. Although busses getting cut from the schedule is beginning to be as familiar in the States as out here. Anyway, traveling with the uncertainty of when my next transportation will arrive (or when the person I am waiting for will arrive) makes it seem busy even if it isn’t.
Chow continues to be good and the plumbing continues to work. Cross your fingers (or I’ll have to cross my legs). And the mongoose apparently figured out not to drink the anti-freeze in the motor pool where he likes to hang out – I still see him/her/it occasionally (your concerns appreciated). They keep telling us it will get hot out here, but thankfully it has barely broke 90F so far. I’m sure it’s just around the corner.
The other night when I was at a different base, our mortar teams fired some rounds sometime after midnight. The blast is fantastic, especially if you aren’t expecting it. It shook the earth and my teeth. There is an interesting moment of consideration when the first boom sounds – is it something that I need to worry about enough to wake up and don my flak jacket. I waited for a few seconds and was encouraged by the light “whump” that follows the big “boom.” The “whump” indicates a flare rather than an explosive round. It turned out to be an illumination mission – the mortars were just firing flares so our guys could see across the valley.
We got a new chapel tent and it was moved to another part of the camp. The old one had been there for years – since the UK occupied this position several years ago. We had movie night last night – the audience chose Rudy over Rocky. Popcorn and care packages were handed out. Tomorrow the Catholic Priest will be here to lead services. The location of the old chapel became the new spot for the gym.
Ok, gotta catch the bus.
Lt. Seanan Holland is a Unitarian Universalist military chaplain stationed in Afghanistan. He has served as an intern with the CLF.
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