I didn’t really know what to expect when I left for training for war to deploy to Afghanistan. And then when I left training I thought I knew what to expect when I got to Afghanistan. But I found out my expectations from training and reality were not the same.
The Journey Begins
I left New Mexico for Indiana and began my Afghanistan training for war by learning the language of the country I was going to. Ten days of learning Dari and about the culture of Afghanistan and the thing I got from it the most was a dear friend and how to say hello (As-salamu alaykum).
The next phase of training dealt with how to interact and react in a combat situation. My job required me to leave the security of the base and deal directly with the people. This made us vulnerable to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), suicide bombers, and other random attacks. Training for war tried to simulate what the experience would be like in Afghanistan. And maybe it did, but nothing prepares you like actually being there.
My expectations were not reality
I expected every mission to be an adventure. I did not expect the people of Afghanistan to be so friendly and welcoming. I expected people to want to kill me because of who I was (American, female, engineer) instead often times I was welcomed with open arms. It was not what I expected. I feel so grateful that I was able to see these people through my experience. The culture of Afghanistan is such a special place mired by years of war and suffering.
I have hope for Afghanistan’s future but know the reality of the world. The people have to live without a wall of protection with real threats. It is not something we can truly understand, but we can always hope for a change.
See all my 31 Days…Military Life