Columbia Library columns (v.9(1959Nov-1960May))

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  v.9,no.1(1959:Nov): Page 3  


A Librarian in Afghanistan


WE came in b\' air from Amritsar, India, on April 20,
1959, threading our way through the mountains
somewhere south of the Kh\'ber, and then turn¬
ing north until we were o\'cr the Kabul plains and the city itself.
Some apprehension is usual when flying at this time of year, be¬
cause there is only a dirt runway at Kabul. A quick shower may
force diversion of a flight, while a thorough soaking may close the
field for several days. It had been open only a few days in the
month preceding our flight. But fortunately the field was dry, and,
as we circled for a landing, the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu
Kush could be seen in virtually all directions, much like the San
Luis Valley of southern Colorado. The nearer mountains, I later
learned, were 14,000 feet high (some 8,000 feet above the valley
floor), while those in the distance, particularly to the northwest,
were even higher. The city, too, with so many adobe houses and
dirt roofs, was suggestive of our southwest. Other similarities were
to be noted continuously through my two-month stay in Afghan¬
istan: sunny and frequently hot days, followed by cool nights;
little rainfall, and that concentrated in a few weeks; complete
dependence on irrigation for crops; hundreds of miles of arid and
sometimes overgrazed land; the summer wind and dust storms;
and, almost invariably, friendly people.

  v.9,no.1(1959:Nov): Page 3