In past posts, I have talked about our local engineer. Engineer Shukrullah, or “Shuak” as we call him, is an extremely important member of our team. Aside from “hello” and “how are you” none of us speak any of the local language, Pashto. Shauk does, being that he is a native of Paktya Province, but he is also an engineering graduate from the University of Kabul, and thus an important technical advisor. He interfaces with the local contractors and government officials, translates for us at meetings, performs quality assurance site visits and helps us with cost estimates, since construction prices in Afghanistan are a little different from the States. Shauk has also become a friend, going to lunch with us (when he isn’t fasting for Ramadan), going to the gym and just sitting and talking about nothing in general. He also has felt the pain of the violence here, when his brother was killed by the Taliban earlier this year.
This week is Shauk’s last here at PRT Gardez, because in a few weeks he will head to the United States. He was awarded a special immigrant visa as a reward for his years of service to the US and Afghan governments. He has asked us all a lot of questions about what the US is like, because he has only ever traveled inside Afghanistan (aside from an interview he had in Pakistan as part of his visa process.) He is an intelligent guy and I hope he does well in the land of the free. I also hope that he doesn’t run into any post-9/11 bigotry, because he has served his, and our country honorably in a place and on a mission very few Americans will ever fully understand.
Thank you and God Bless.