The Three Abduls

It has been a crazy week in Camp Gibson, and what drives me crazier is that I can’t really talk about what’s going on over here. You military guys know what it’s like to have to keep things from your families and friends, but I’m not used to it. It makes me want to stop communicating all together because I feel like there’s a big block of no-no that I can’t write my way around.

But there have been good things going on as well.

I think I’ve mentioned before that the locals usually go by several different names because of the multitude of Abduls, Mohammads and Rahims that are out there. Rhohani Esthamattulah was working in our office and he was let go this last week. You may remember that he was the one who told me the story of Adamhani the Teeth. I was sad to see him go, but not surprised. While he thought that viewing pornography on his company computer was okay, it turns out that it isn’t. It’s not okay.

But I started to suspect that the real reason Rhohani was fired, was not because of streaming explicit videos. We were scheduled to bring in another new employee the day after Rhohani was let go. As the new guy walked into the office and was introduced as Abdul Wached, he was greeted by Abdul in the Travel Department, then by Abdul Khaliq in the finance area. They all spoke in Dari and gave traditional greetings, but there seemed to be a familiarity – a bond that was easy to see between these three Abduls. And while they go by different names on a daily basis, I slowly came to realize that Rhohani’s downfall wasn’t his randy nature – it was his name. I’ve asked around and it turns out that the Abduls are the equivalent of the Sopranos or the Corliones or those guys that hang out at the Masonic Temple.

So I’m a little proud to say that I’ve changed my name, adding “Abdul Awesome-asad” to my middle name. I think this is going to help me to fit in over here, especially when my milky white complexion, fanny pack and camera around my neck might call too much attention.

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