Another Perk for Being in Kandahar: Patience Bonus|
Commentary by Lt. Col. Donnette Boyd
451 AEW Chaplain
2/25/2011 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- If you're an optimist who enjoys looking at your half full water bottle each day, you've probably already tallied all the benefits you have for being here at Kandahar Airfield. There's the hostile fire pay, the family separation allowance, the $3.50 per day per diem and the tax free status. All these perks are in addition to the free laundry service, the fact that you don't have to cook or do dishes each day and hopefully have a little extra time to workout at the gym. Despite all these great perks, you've probably overlooked one of the biggest benefits of all--you're totally free patience bonus!
How many times have you admitted to yourself that you need more patience? Whether it's dealing with long lines, putting up with slow traffic or dealing with things that aren't quite right, you know, the things that challenge you the most. Your time here at KAF can help you grow in any area that you've experienced personal challenges for patience. Most good things you do here at KAF require waiting in a long line. You wait for your favorite food at the Board Walk, you wait in line for treadmills at the NATO Gym, and many of us wait in the long stir fry line at the Far East Dining Facility .
If you're the type of person who gets easily annoyed while driving, consider yourself having enrolled in a graduate level patience course. You are tested daily with slow pedestrians who seem oblivious to the fact that they are blocking traffic, people who don't know how to use a four-way stop sign, Coalition Forces who enjoy making internationally recognized offensive gestures and, if that's not enough, pot holes that cause you to utter a frantic prayer as you approach them. Did I mention the tactical night time driving when you and your coworkers play a game called, "who can spot the pedestrians in the street without reflective belts first?"
If you don't have the luxury of having access to a vehicle here, consider yourself enrolled in a doctorate level patience course. As you attempt Olympic-style long jumps over huge, interestingly colored, water puddles and negotiate the few sidewalks there are with bicyclists, you also have to deal with impatient drivers. You are hurried across the roads by anxious drivers on American Boulevard who appear to be responding to some sort of emergency. This is interesting enough since they are not an emergency vehicle and the DFACs don't close for at least an hour.
Whether you are here for a few days as you pass through to other Forward Operating Bases or are serving a 4, 6 or 12 month deployment, I'll bet that you've become more patient as a result of being stationed at KAF. Things that once bothered you don't seem to bother you as much anymore. You no longer "sweat the small stuff" but focus on the things that matter: the mission, the people and your long distance connections with your family. Whether you just arrived here, are at the half way point or at the tail end of your tour, you've already received some of your patience bonus and will likely receive a little more before you leave. Enjoy the rest of your time here, laugh a little each day, and cash in on that patience bonus.