Fieldset
Sunset over Quetta

“The sky over Quetta will be filled with kites in what seems to be one big kite battle”

“The sky over Quetta will be filled with kites in what seems to be one big kite battle”

At the end of the day, when the documents, emails and calculations on my computer are finished, I collect some papers from my desk. Since there are no recycling facilities, we sometimes have to burn papers instead. Nothing is more relaxing than doing this in the quiet corner of the compound, staring into the flames and letting the day pass by once more.

One of our drivers places his hand on my shoulder and smiles: Everything ok? Yes, I’m relaxing. His smile surrounded by a perfectly trimmed beard. While the documents are turned into black snowflakes he asks me to join for a tea. When the last flake leaves the barrel, we step into the small room where guards and drivers stay while they are in the compound. The inside is heated by a gas burner to keep the freezing temperatures out.

Positioned in front of the door, my eyes catch a lone kite in the sky over our office. Red and green, it circles in the clear blue sky. The sky starts to turn red while the sun sets behind the house of our neighbours. In several weeks, the sky over Quetta will be filled with kites in what seems to be one big kite battle. In the weeks beforehand, kids and adults are improving their skills by flying kites from their rooftops.

The driver is joined by a guard and together we discuss the weather – as in any other place, the starting point for many conversations. No rains this year so far; no wheat; no bread. While sipping from our sugary tea, I realise that while these men have many big-picture things to worry about in this part of the world, they are also affected by the fact that it’s getting harder to buy bread.