So the workweek began with confusion. The library is responsible for textbook distribution and in order to distribute, the students should have a record in our system with a unique id. We then check the textbook(s) out to them and all is well. But what happens when you have 50-60 new students who arrived, ready for their textbook, but we don't have them in the system? Well. The ever faithful paper and pen method works just fine.
This week, I finished a report on funding and fundraising for the upper admins. They seemed both pleased with my work and disappointed that I wasn't bringing them good news. Of the top 100 foundations giving money out, less than 700,000 has been spent since 2004 in Afghanistan. Everyone thinks that the American government is spending enough there already. They are spending money, sure, but not on the people, not on education, not on projects like AUAf. We've got to work on that. Big time. At least my research helped document the situation for them and they understood the scale and scope of what is ahead for development projects. We have to start from scratch.
On Sunday, I gave my passport to human resources again. Instead of sending it on to get a work permit, I was getting, finally, a multi-entry 'stay' visa. I had a six month, single visit visa and that meant that if I left, I'd have to wait a bit in Dubai or some such until I got permission to enter again. I got my visa and passport in hand on Tuesday. It really isn't such a big deal except for I had to carry extra 'papers' signed and sealed (literally) saying that everything is ok, but my passport is unavailable due to its being processed by specified ministry. Why? Well, the street we drive regularly has now police and army checkpoints. We pass at least two every time we drive it. And they have taken to stopping 'richer' cars and telling the folks inside that if they don't produce their papers within half an hour, they will haul us down to central processing. Sigh. It is most likely just a way to get more monies, but it is daunting. So when I was gracefully driven straight past these checkpoints, I just sighed with relief. I had my 'papers' but didn't want to use them. Most of the police have difficulty reading anyways.
So with multi-entry visa in my 'papers' now, I booked flights to Dubai and Mumbai for my March spring-break rest.
Then, less than 24 hours later, I checked my American bank account to see if my first paycheck made it through. It did. But so did about five unknown charges taking place in Dearborn, MI. Sigh. Visa checkcard with Bank of America was compromised. I'm down less than 500 bucks, but still. They moved fast. So quickly! I'm putting my money on the Safi Airways transaction. I wont book them online again. What can I say, but those criminal, but 'permitted' networks are nasty, mean beasts.
How do you solve a problem like credit fraud (on a personal level)? Well. Your card gets canceled. Then they mail you a replacement card to your home address. Then your home folks will send the card to a friend in Dubai and you will pick it up there. And make a long distance phone call to get it activated. So you first have to make sure that your skype is working in the UAE. If not, you get to give Etisalat some more of your money to make the call. In the meantime, you don't have access to your US bank. Isn't that special?!
But I am blessed. I had asked for 1,500 to be taken out of my paycheck and provided to me as cash. I'll have that available to me on Sunday. I had no idea all this would happen, but money is always nice to have around. And extra money is even better.
It is raining in Kabul this weekend. Fresher air is nice. Muddy shoes again, less nice.
I had off from work today. It is the Prophet's Birthday. I cleaned, straightened, worked on a project (a side project related to normal work) and watched a movie with Carol who is the assistant to the AUAf president. We watched New Moon. Man. It really sucked. But the company was fun. Most of my guest housemates are away for the holiday weekend. I think most of them are in Dubai. A big jealous, but the visa came to me too late for a last-minute trip.
Tomorrow (Friday) I will do my usual routines of laundry, shopping (I would like to find some light bulbs as my reading lamp lost its bulb--at least it didn't explode on me like one of the 'internationals' said happened to him. That would be too exciting before falling asleep!)
On Saturday, I hope to get over to the Kabul Museum (or the National Museum of Afghanistan). I was not able to go last weekend because they closed us down for transportation due to the opening of the National Assembly.
Then it is three weeks of work and I'm on vacation. I can't wait to see folks I miss in Dubai and then escape reality for a bit into the magical world of Mumbai. Don't quite know where I will stay there, but just making arrangements for travel is fun. Reading and perusing pictures. I should have been in the travel business. The education business suits me fine, though.
On Monday night, my team will serve as the Quiz masters for the night. Our AUAf team is getting hard to beat! I am having a lot of fun coming up with my sets of questions.