I recently posted a notice on Facebook inviting people to ask any questions they had about my experience in Afghanistan, so here's the first installment of my answers! Keep the questions coming!
What's the culture like in Afghanistan?
Unfortunately I've spent almost all my time on Kandahar Air Field, so I haven't yet personally experienced much of the Afghan culture. I do expect that to change the longer I'm here, so I'll try and write more about it when it happens. At our first performance a couple of weeks ago, we did have an opportunity to interact with some of the Afghan soldiers, and they seemed very warm, friendly, and interested in learning more about how we do things.
What's it like living on the base?
It's usually pretty relaxed. We are required to carry our weapons (in my case, an M-16 rifle) with us unless we are doing "physical training" (i.e. exercise) but we don't have to wear helmets unless riding in "tactical vehicles" and we don't wear body armor unless we leave the base. There are several dining facilities, as well as a USO lounge, internet cafe, multiple gyms, and restaurants like TGI Friday's, KFC, and a European place called Echoes. There is a game room, college education center, and classes like Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and salsa dancing are offered. All of this, of course, is for when we have free time and are not doing office work, rehearsal, or performing/otherwise involved in a "mission."
Can you travel off the base?
Generally not, unless we are on official business.
That's all I have time for now, but more to come later! Again, feel free to ask anything!