I wasn't aware that anything was amiss as I ran a micro-teaching session and gave feedback. Even when I got a text from a woman who works for another program saying, "Can't leave the house. Can you..." with specific instructions to do something, it did not register that something was wrong. Hmmm. I wonder what's happening with her. I then got another text from a good friend that works at ISAF saying "On lockdown. Will probably last a few days." Oh, I thought. How disappointing. I hoped to see her this weekend. And yet, I still did not relate it to me.
At the end of the day when we packed everything up and were walking to the car I was going slowly so that I could enjoy the sun on my skin. At the house we have blast film covering all of the windows and very little sunlight comes through. The blast film also blocks out certain elements that make it impossible to grow plants and gives you a vitamin D deficiency. I soak up all the sun I can between walks from the car to buildings and back to the car again. We arrived at the car and normally the Afghan staff rides back to the office with us. Today Bella explained to them that it was too dangerous and that they should go by taxi. "Why?" They questioned.
"There are reports that they are stopping cars and shooting Westerners." The Afghans immediately turned and walked away. My mouth dropped open. "They're doing what?" Fear coiled in the base of my stomach. We got into the car and drove out of the university. Our PSD (private security detail) reloaded and checked his gun. After a tense but uneventful ride home, I stayed outside a little while to play with the dogs. They are street dogs that live in the bombed out ruins of a house next door. The sweetest dogs ever, they let us know when anyone unknown is on the street. When there was just two of them, I used to save bits of meat from my lunch to give them. They have grown to a pack of four adults, 4 puppies and some on the way puppies. After petting the dogs for 10 minutes, one of the PSDs drove up with a housemate and said "Get inside." I followed his orders.
When I walked into the house I passed the white board where we write our name, locations and time in and time out of the house. There were big black letters that said "No movement." It was official. We were on lockdown.The first few hours of lockdown I was very agitated because there is so little that we are allowed to do for security reasons that I always look forward to dinners out at some of the restaurants around town. I was sitting in my room, eating leftovers and on the net when Bella called me and said, "Grab your pillows and get down here." Being one to always obey reasonable orders, I grabbed my pillow and went downstairs to find Bella and Sandra sitting on the bed propped up by loads of pillows with a computer at their feet. The computer had a cartoon desert on the screen and was propped up by a makeshift stand of books.
"Join us." Bella said, patting the space next to her. As I sat down and snuggled under the covers she started the movie from the beginning. "We're watching Pussy Boots."
"Um, OK." Having lived outside the States for many years, I find it hard to keep up with the movies and shows that are coming out or popular. Preferring to be active and social, I always do my movie watching in groups, on airplanes or in odd situations like this one. With the first scene of the cat waking up, stealing and then running off with a ring, I was hooked. We laughed our way through the movie and I happily returned to my room afterwards to get some sleep.
The next day I woke up excited to walk to the French Bakery (with a PSD) and get my weekly spicy beef pie. Then I remembered it was day two of lockdown. Momentarily annoyed, I let it pass and then got to work before ending up sitting in the kitchen with Sandra for a couple hours as she cooked what turned out to be an amazing dinner for the 6 people living in the house. After the dinner of fried fish, beets, rice and dahl we, the three girls, ended back in Bella's room for Dirty Dancing and crafts night. Turns out that the lockdown has been beneficial in helping me slow down and spend some time good friends.