Archive for October, 2007

This one’s for you A.A… and of course all others who are interested.

Initially, when i arrived to Afghanistan i had the initiative of creating a documentary which will be aired all over Australia. With the S.S’s assistance, we managed to find sponsors. Universities were interested in screening the documentary prior to even seeing it.I had the contribution of Afghan journalists.

Unfortunately, i became occupied in other aspects of my life and the poor security situation restricted my movement.

I began typing my manuscript- a book in the process about an Afghan girl born and raised in Australia trying to integrate in the place she always considered ‘home’- Afghanistan. I reached to great lengths. i figured i needed a more effective method, one that wasn’t so time consuming.

One day while i was surfing the net, i came accross a blog kept buy an afghan guy who had visited Afghanistan. it was incredibly interesting. so i began keepign an online journal (normally, i keep a written journal). From then on, i began typing. kept an account of daily happenings. Eventually, my aim is to convert this blog into a book.

I also wanted to get the message out and accross, not to be too political but just an average person trying to get through life in Kabul. I know for a fact that if i came across a blog like this when abroad, i’ll be extremely curious.

So here i am, months later still typing.

At times i procrastinated, i lagged behind, gave up hope. but it was my friends interest, the comments and emails sent by all you guys that kept me moving. I picked up.

Particularly, one comment left by Kaka B and his support over the phone kept me going. He is an absolute legend, (apart from my parents)he’s helped me through the toughest times of my life. I owe him much gratitude. He looks up to me with such admiration and encouraged me when i felt i was breaking. He has always told me i wasn’t a ‘typical afghan girl’. to this very day, i believe i’m not (no disrespect to others).

Also, W.A occasional emails saying nothing more but ‘shalgham, update your blog.’was enough to get me typing blog essays.

Hope that’s answered your question.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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An Afghan Photo Gallery

With all credits to James Hill for his spectacular works.

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health update

Six months since my last check up, i was informed by our headquarters in Geneva that i need a medical examination prior to renewing my contract.

And so i did!

Results: All is well except kidney infection with high chance of stones. Nothing serious though, i’ll just have a small operation and get it out.

The normal rate is 2-4 units, mine is TWENTY SIX!!! That explains why i get kidney aches, typical me… i ignore it.

I’m guessing it’s because i eat and drink anything including tap water (yes, i have heard about the cats-in-the-tank myth).

I told W.A about it and this is how the conversation went. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Me: The ______graphy will show whats going on. I can’t remember the name coz the doc pronounced it way too Afghan.
W.A: fotooografee
Me: Lol, no i would have understood! I’d rather take the x ray pics myself with my digital camera. These docs have a 3 months MBBA bachelors.
W.A: Come on. Mate, the education system of Afg was soo hard that only 3% of the country could get an education.
Me: kadoo katee az ee gappet!
W.A: if your not smart enough, they kick you out of first grade.

Where to now? i have to get the _____graphy. do i trust the hospitals here?

I had a terrible day today! the medical results just worsened it. I was listening to the radio online and Natasha Bedingfield was singing Unwritten. Such an uplifting song, i used to put it up in my car everytime it came on. One of them songs u can sing along with.

It made me feel much better.

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar

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This is me addressing you live from Kabul.

do you get feedback re your blog?
Yes, all the time! I get emails when i dont update it. I have recieved feedback from Afghans all over the globe thanking me and appreciating what i do. The pleasure is all mine!

Last item you bought:
8 Dvds (it takes me forever to watch it, i like buying em), bed sheet/covers, boots, a classy woolen coat (Qaraqol) it only cost me $400!, music cds, home theatre system for my room.

describe your fashion sense:
classy, chic, elegant and stylish… fashion comes and goes but style is forever. simplicity is elegance- i hate it when girls go overboard. yes, i do buy designer BUT in proportion- i budget my money well.

quantity or quality?
quality! i’d rather have a few genuines than a whole heap of fakes in all aspects of life.

describe your bedroom:
ummm… a neat wardrobe (yes i’m still the same old perfectionist!, my bed, dresser, side tables, my sofa set, home theatre system… what else am i to say? oh yeah and it’s all classy!! lol i like interior designing!

your wardrobe:
neat, categorised!

how many pairs of shoes?
16. i just counted.hey, i have a sense of saving too. I manage my $$ well!

what are you wearing right now?
kalayeh afghani! jokes. i’m wearing my black designer suit and a grey shirt.

how’s the weather?

whats in your handbag right now?
uff such detailed questions. ID card (in case i forget who i am lol), wallet, lipgloss, foundation, eyeliner, perfume- ‘provocative woman’, moisturiser, wet cleansing tissues, digital camera, flash drive, phone, chocolate. i have a special place for each item… yes i know i’m a perfectionist.

can’t leave the house without…
my handbag and all the mentioned items. my bank card!!

how do ppl see you?
oh let me ask… lol. This is exactly whta A.A answered ‘strong personality/character, classy, decisive, u know exactly what u want! loyal, faithful, decent, mature- REPUTATION,CONFIDENCE AND PRIDE lol remember that, u hold urself wit a lotta pride but ur also v down 2 earth. and u dont treat ppl bad but at the same time u wont tolerate being mistreated.you know wat ur worth!’

last person who emailed you?
A.B, dad, S.A, P.W.

three things you like doing…
1) laughing n quality conversation
2) shopping
3) quality time at home

three things that annoy you…
1) dumb ppl/ immaturity/ blondes
2) fake ppl
3) ppl with no manners (especially at the dining table!!)

last movie you watched…
Meet Joe Black- depiction of elegance.

ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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winter bliss

Last night: Parents went to visit a relative. Stayed home with my siblings, got them to complete their homework, put them in bed. then it was just me and the cold.

Lying in bed under three blankets with a Sidney Shelldon (‘if tomorrow comes’) novel and my phone. Playing sms ping pong with a friend. I drowned myself in the novel and let myself be absorbed by the aura.

Winter does have it’s positives, i guess.

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Pitch black Paghman

The black mountains of Paghman overshadowed us as the driver accelerated faster on the narrow road, swerving left and right avoiding oncoming traffic. My family picked me up after work and we went to Paghman. Yes i was freaking out. but at the same time, i felt it would be exciting. We had a great time!

Bought kebabs on the way, got there when it was dark, visited a relative. Returned home.

I’m not in the mood for subjective writing so u’ll have to excuse me.

Got a medical check up done today, getting results later today. Been driving around in work vehicle all day which i hate coz it’s like saying ‘hey mr taliban, check me out. i work for your enemies, come and get me!’ i’d rather catch cabs all day! okay, not really!

I found a new trick to avoid the stupid Afghan guards flirtation at the checkpoints. TALKING ENGLISH ON MY PHONE! it really works. i called a friend and started chatting, they checked my ID cards without saying a word!The US troops started a conversation with me in the middle of nowhere, so i was polite. They were really nice and asked if i wanted them to escort me out til my vehicle. I declined nicely but gave the afghan guards the ‘dont ever mess with me again’ look. I think they got the point.

Okies, back to work!

ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

H.A- i try to deter from politics as much as i can but it’s the only interesting thing that happens here. How’s the election campaign going? I read the debate transcript with Johnny Boy and Kevin Rudd. What are the polls showing? okay okay fine, no more politics. Your right about my blog being political i just scrolled down and saw the past few blogs have been all politics.

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Rainy weather. Depressing music. Boring office atmosphere coz everyone had a fight (excluding me) so i’m stuck in the middle, tolerating boredom.

Weekend went great. Thursday- i got home and headed straight to work. My sisters paywaazi! I had a terrible stomach ache from eating roadside chapli kabab (thanks to my colleagues).

Friday- visited grandads burial site. then went on a family bbq with my sisters and my bro in laws. Evening went to a posh Turkish restaurant for dinner.

Saturday- took my sisters out shopping. we literally shopped til we dropped. Had lunch at an international Lebanese restaurant.i bought boots, DVDs, checked up on my tailor made coat (made of Qaraqol), bought a bed set. had an argument with the guard at the restaurant door for giving girls a hard time. he won’t let em in until he flirts with them. so i gave him a piece of me. well not really, but i told his supervisor. My sisters and i were freaking out upon leaving. He’s armed with a gun and we were paranoid that he’ll shoot us in retaliation.

We weren’t bothered waiting for the driver to pick us up so we decided to catch a taxi. Two taxis stopped, the first was a guy aged around 30. the second one was an elder guy aged around 50. i told my sister to go for the second taxi coz he’s old and in case he decides to kidnap us (yes, i am paranoid) at least we can beat him out of the taxi and hijack it. S went to the first taxi leaving T and i debating about which one is the safer alternative. This is how it went:

ME: The younger one is harder to beat up if he decides to kidnap us, look at him.. he’s so big and fat!

T: No, the younger one is more into contemporary living. look at him, you can tell he’s anti-Taliban. He won’t kidnap us! The old one looks like a Talib, look at his beard!

I reluctantly accepted the first option. Surprisingly, the driver was very ‘normal’. he wouldnt stare in his rear view as other drivers would and he didnt attempt to converse. I felt alright until we got home. I told the driver to drop us off a few houses before ours (it’s my ‘safe’ technique so that we don’t give away our residential details). I handed him a 100 Afs note, he declined saying he didn’t have change. I told him not to worry about it. he then responded by saying he’s not a taxi driver! i was like WHAT? but i acted calm and cool. left the 100 Afs in the car seat. the second i shut the door of the taxi, i turned to my sister saying, I TOLD YOU SO, he was weird!i told them from this point on, i’m catching the cab!

LAter that night, i told my parents the story! mum laughed, dad explained the taxi situation. White are unregistered taxis (the one we got into) and yellows are official taxis.

Anyways, nearly time to go home. I need to wrap up.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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I couldn’t take it any more! My eyes became too wet to see, I dropped my head and waited for them to finish. Every pair of eyes in the room told a dreadful story, a horrific past. yet they continue to smile, this was only a fraction of kabuls poor and needy. Some of the children told their stories with no emotion. As if losing a parent was alright.

Suddenly, I realised why I was in Kabul. It was for children like them. how could I be so selfish and turn away from these faces. my moral conscience would’nt
allow it. Even if I did return to Australia, I’d be sure to leave something
behind and contribute somehitng.</

– From my speech which i delivered to prominent guests at ‘Mahboba’s Promise’ hope house (orphanage)

Where are our educated Afghans? Your country is calling you, awaiting you, in need of you. In every Afghan childs weep, in every Afghan mothers tear, in every Afghan fathers quest… You are the answer!

Our Afghans abroad who were once respected engineers, doctors, professors, lawyers in their homes are now taxi drivers. Even a king away from home is a beggar.

Nothing is greater than the satisfaction one recieves from helping an outstretched hand. No feeling is greater than feeling an orphans hair run through your fingers.
No feeling is greater than wiping away the tears of a mother in search of her long missing son. No pain is stronger than the one which an orphan or a widow shares through their story. No smile is more genuine than the one on a poor womans face.

They continue to smile yet in every voice of every man, in every infants cry of fear, in every cry of every child. In ever voice I hear the cruelty of war, the unhealed wounds, the pain and sufferings…hoping and praying for a day to come.

– From my speech which i delivered to prominent guests at ‘Mahboba’s Promise’ hope house (orphanage). When i got to this part of my speech, i couldnt hold back tears.

Ba omideh salamatee Afghanistan. Khuda negahdaar.

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But for how long…?

I spoke about these people with President Hamid Karzai, during a luncheon in Kabul. He told me that Afghanistan would welcome any Afghan who wants to return home. It was an honorable position to take. But historically, even in the far more stable era of royalty, the central Afghan government has never been able to provide adequately for its people. Today, the country is still recovering from a 30-year nightmare of war, famine, drought, displacement and massive human suffering. By all indications, the government is overwhelmed with the task of providing even basic services, and does not have the capacity to absorb the millions of Afghans who have come back. In the villages that I visited, the presence of the government was simply not palpable, severely testing the self-sufficiency in which Afghans take so much pride
– Khaled Hosseini

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