It rained today for the first time since we’ve been at Camp Dubs. This was preceded by a fierce dust storm that lasted only long enough to clog the eyes and noses of those who were not quick enough to get to cover. The rain was sorely needed. Afghanistan is in the grip of a drought of several year’s duration.
The rain was accompanied by a brilliant lightning show. The lightning shot across the sky and around the mountain top, adding to the imposing presence of the mountain.
Three of us had just come down from a 500 foot foothill of the mountain, which we had climbed for physical training. We were grateful that our timing had been so precise that we had arrived back within the Hesco walls of our tiny fort scant minutes before the pelting dust slammed into the camp.
After the rain I noticed that half of the graveled floor of our enclave looked dry… not a neat division, but spots here and there. That was really strange. Then I gazed up at the angry gray sky that framed the Queen’s Palace, and there it was… a rainbow.
It was quite a sight; the war-ravaged Queen’s Palace, perched on its hill like a forlorn dowager overlooking her shell-torn city, overcast by the angry rain clouds, with a partial rainbow set above it like a tilted crown. A small promise of hope above the war-pocked Queen of Kabul.
I thought to run for my camera, but knowing the nature of rainbows, and seeing how this one was fading, I opted to enjoy the vision laid before me, to live in the moment. It was good for me.
Speaking of the promise of hope, I had mentioned in a previous posting that Afghanistan has a horrendous infant mortality rate and a stupefying maternal mortality rate in childbirth. Well, another rainbow… the infant mortality rate has dropped by 18%. It is down as of 2006 to 135 per 1000 live births from 165 in 2001. It seems that the Taliban were not so good for babies, either.
The rate of maternal mortality is still second only to Sierra Leone.
It was a partial rainbow. But it was still a rainbow.