I survived an earthquake in Afghanistan during my nine-month deployment. Truthfully, I lived in a tent so there wasn’t much to worry about in terms of what could fall on me. The bed and dressers shook a lot while I was peacefully sleeping. Almost everyone woke up in the middle of the night, but this Califonia girl slept right through it.
I sent emails home to family and friends throughout the deployment. Here is the email update about the uneventful, but slightly dramatic event. This update also provided more details about Afghanistan and me dreaming about going home.
Earthquake in Afghanistan
Last night, I slept through a 6.3 earthquake. We don’t know where the earthquake epicenter was, but my roommate who didn’t sleep through the whole ordeal said the bed shook quite a bit and her locker opened up. She almost asked me why I was shaking her bed before she realized the bed was shaking because of an earthquake and not because of me. Our sleeping quarters are tents so there is a lot of give and nothing in our tent fell over. So I’m not sure how strong the earthquake was where we lived, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t damage on the base.
I’m still surprised I slept through the earthquake. Not because I haven’t slept through an earthquake before. I grew up in California so earthquakes although not intense where I grew up are not uncommon to feel. But mostly I had gotten up 3 times in the night. One of those times, I woke up 30 minutes before the earthquake happened and then again about 30 minutes after. But during the event, I was asleep.
Everyone else in my office was woken up by all the shaking.
I guess since it isn’t the first earthquake I have slept through I’m not that surprised. The last earthquake I remember happened when I was at Lake Tahoe. It happened around 4 am and I only knew because someone told me about it in the morning. And even though it was a pretty big earthquake, there was no major damage to any of the buildings on our Forward Operating Base. But there was flooding. Apparently, a huge rainstorm swept through at the same time as the earthquake and cause flooding in Northern Kapisa and the main office building (not my office) was covered with 3-4 inches of water in the morning.
Another interesting thing that happened this week is that I had my first Afghan meal. I went to a meeting with an Afghan leader in the Bazaar (Afghan word for market). The Bazaar is attached to the FOB, but outside of the security perimeter. We can go to the bazaar without body armor, but as always have to have our weapon. I have my 9-mm with me at all times and leave my M-4 locked up and only use it for missions off base. When had finished the formal part of the meeting and were preparing to leave, in walks an Afghan with a tray of food. Even if I had wanted to leave I couldn’t. It would have been rude to not accept a meal offered by our Afghan hosts.
So, we stayed for lunch and enjoyed a yummy Afghan meal. There was so much food and it all was delicious. We had rice with carrots and raisins, something similar to shredded beef and kabobs. We also had the best tasting nan (Afghan bread) I have had since I have been here. We can get nan from the French Dining Facility, but it isn’t fresh. This nan was crispy and soft and super yummy. We finished the meal off with fresh fruit: watermelon, honeydew, bananas, and apples. It was fun to eat such good food and was nice to see the generosity of the people in Afghanistan.
Overall a boring week
Nothing too exciting else has happened this week. We are just waiting for the replacements to show up and getting all our folders and paperwork up to date. That way when they show up it is a smooth transition. We don’t have much time until the next team will arrive, but are hoping it is sooner than they expect. We know we have over a month until the rest of the next team shows up. So we are getting closer to coming home, but still have a long ways to go.
Once the new team arrives here it won’t be long until we get to go home. I’m not sure how quickly everything will happen or what wave I’ll be in leaving. But I am really excited that the time we have left is getting to be smaller and feels more real each day. I’m going to miss all of the friends I have made and will be thankful for the things I have learned.
But I am ready to go home.
Until next time.
You can read all of my Afghanistan stories here.