Wednesday, June 10, 2009

BBC Radio 1 : Afghanistan diary: Day Two

By Sima Kotecha Newsbeat US reporter in Afghanistan

All week Newsbeat is with British troops in Afghanistan for a series of special reports on life in one of the world's most dangerous countries. In her second diary entry, Sima Kotecha describes the daily battle with the elements and watches a medical call-out.

The heat here is unbearable. You feel drained from it. Today, it hit the 50 Celsius mark. Having black hair doesn't help because black absorbs heat. At one point, I thought my scalp was about to catch fire.

The dust is a nightmare too. The desert sand is so fine. After walking around in it all day, it gets in your clothes, your hair, your bags. My radio mic no longer looks black but a dusky shade of grey.

It's been a long day and a dramatic one too.

We were interviewing the Medical Emergency Rescue Team (MERT) when they got called out for an emergency.

Four people had been injured in an explosion in Helmand. The team rushed with us into the car and went to the runway to get on a helicopter.

They threw their body armour on and were away into the sky within minutes. An Apache helicopter guided them off the ground and flew above them to make sure they were safe in the air.

It was an impressive act. They've had enough practice, after all. None of the medics were confused about what to do. I was fixated on the soldier who was pointing a machine gun out of the door.

The day was filled with drama but now night has fallen, things are peaceful.
Troops are sitting outside their tents chatting, some are indulging in a cigar.

I feel relaxed - yet I'm in the middle of a war zone. It's bizarre. The twinkling stars are an assortment of bright colours.

Afghanistan's southern desert is stunning but the country's problems have made many forget how beautiful the place actually is.

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