Clif Bars have become a huge commodity here at KAF. There is one dining facility in South Park, the one that you have to walk more than a mile to get to down an extremely dusty, dirt road. By the time you get there, your legs and clothes are completely covered in dirt.
One windy day, when I got back from eating in South Park, I could actually run my nails across my scalp and tons of dirt came out. It can be pretty disgusting. You have to shower as soon as you get back because you don’t want to drag all the dirt into your room.
Needless to say, Friday and/or Saturday nights are reserved for the long, chalky trek to South Park for American greasy-spoon type food and the coveted Clif Bars. One is only allowed two Clif Bars per visit to the Dining Facility, however, I know of many people the wear the Navy Sweatshirt with the big pocket in front in order to cram in full of Clif Bars until the women look pregant and the men look like they have a beer gut!
Every night at the Hospital, sometime between midnight and 1 am, food is delivered from this Dining Facility to feed the staff that has to work here all night. These dinner left-overs are referred to as Midrats. Occasionally, Clif Bars are delivered along with the take out containers of food. This results in a frenzy of staff members almost climbing over each other to grab their favorite bars from the box. Within the first five minutes of the arrival of the food, there is not one Clif Bar left to be found. People have to beg each other, or trade other desired commodities for these bars.
I remember during, my teenage years in the mountains of Southern Oregon, my father bringing home an experimental health bar that one of his former students had created. The first taste test I recalled involved eating something that looked, and tasted, like bark shavings held together by molasses. Little did I know I was eating something that would eventually evolve into one of the most popular energy bars in existence! I got to be a part of the creation of something that is now lusted after by coalition forces here in Afghanistan! I find that pretty amazing. Thank you Gary Erickson for making the Clif Bar. I eat one every day before I go to the gym for my workout.
And, I just ate one this morning before I ran another 5 K here on base! This time I ran the U.S. Marine Corps 235th Birthday Run, the one in which we ran in memory of a fallen Marine. I am very honored to have run in memory of CPT Trevor Yurista, who died in Afghanistan fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom in Fall of 2008. I believe he was there with me in spirit as I crossed the finish line just as the sun was coming up this morning!