So where is the happy ending?
Today I finally settled into catch up on all that has been going on in Ghor while I was away. There have been more grenade attacks in town - last night a rocket was fired into a small wooded area on the edge of town. There are rumours around town that these attacks have been carried out by the police themselves in order to distract attention from the fact that they are busy providing an armed escort to drug traffickers hauling their illicit wares across the province.
In Passaband in the south of Ghor there was an advance into the province of numbers of Taleban fighters, faced with an advancing regiment of Afghan National Police they seem to have retreated to just inside the border and regrouped.
In Shahrak, in response to an ambush on a police convoy earlier this week that killed 10 police officers (including the Cheif of Police) and saw five more wounded and five abducted - the Afghan National Police are now preparing for operations in the area which may - sadly - turn out to look more like retribution than crime control.
All over the province there are reports of an impending humanitarian disaster as food aid trucks continue to fail to get through to Ghor. I just got back from a long meeting which made me realise finally just how confused everyone is about the food shortage and just how unprepared some key players seem to be.
I had a long meeting this morning about a string of unresolved human rights cases in relation to which the Government does not seem to be taking very proactive steps towards resolution. One case was of a 15 year old girl abducted and forceably married to the soldier of one powerful commander and then taken for a month to the house of the commander himself where she was allegedly repeatedly raped by the commander and eight of his armed men.
And everyone is looking at me asking me to help them find a solution.
And I have just over two weeks left here.
Talk about feeling separation guilt. I'm drowning in it tonight. One half of my heart and mind is screaming at me "How can you leave!!! You know that you have been making a difference here. You know that you can do more. These are your friends and your colleagues and you can't really be planning to abandon them!".
Another part of my heart and mind knows perfectly that I am not the solution to anyone's problems, that these problems are not going away anywhere fast and that it will never be the right time to leave. It may never be the right time to leave but I think that it is the right time to go home.
Then I got this email from a dear Palestinian friend living in Gaza:
I am not good my dear, every things around us in Gaza very disappointed, and so hard this time, no medical supplies in Gaza, no drinks, no food, every thing finished from the markets, we will not found it after that, I don't feel for any hope in the near future that something good will happen in Gaza, I think it will be more more worse, more closure for long time………. Any way, this is Gaza.
Thanks Marianne again for your kind message, and keep in touch.
With my love,
I remembered with a rush the same mix of emotions thoughts and feeling when I left Gaza. I know very well that I could have stayed in Gaza all these years and the outcome for my friends there would not have been significantly altered. These messes are so much bigger than us.
That isn't the voice of hopelessness - I still believe we all have to do as much good as we can with whatever resources and opportunities we can find or make for ourselves. But I also know that the macro-level dynamics of Gaza and Ghor are equally out of the hands of one human rights officer/ humanitarian worker.
So it is pretty important not to start to feel as though you should be able to do more than you can do. It is pretty important not to start believing that this place and these people "need" me. It is pretty important to stay focused on doing what good I can and then letting go of the rest.
Still tonight I can't help heading off to bed dreaming of a happy ending for Gaza and for Ghor.