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Archive for November, 2007

Mud houses in Kandahar?

Hamma karaat doroughaki, boro baba shinakhtamet… khub medoonam! -Valy

Love that song!

Anyways, had a conversation with my buddy from our Kandahar office. He’s from the States and a great guy. He told me about his sons party:

N: its all good over here, getting prepared for the party tomorrow night
i think we gonna have like 20 females along with their 300 kids in our tiny house
Me: ahahahha is this party for ur son?
N: yeah, its for that lil fool.he is doing better now, started walking around the day before yesterday
Me: hahaha
N: pops gave me 700$ to cover some of the costs. isnt he great?
Me: i cant help but ask this, do they have concrete houses in kandahar or are they all mud houses?
N: you know what, im gonna have to bring you down here someday
Me:ahahahah sorry, but i’m just curious!!!
Nasim: kandahar use to be the capital of afghanistan back in the days
Me: yeah but still… even kabul has mud houses
N: and today, its the 3rd largest city in afghanistan, and growing daily
well kandahar has mud houses, but it also has lots and lots of concrete buildings and houses
Me:: thank u. u sound like a news reporter!!!so is ur house mud or concrete?
N: oh be quiet
Me: well?
N: its concrete

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GOOD NEWS!! I’m a keen supporter of specialised treatment in juvenile offending. Having experience in that field, i have seen it’s impact on juveniles. The first rehabilitation centre for juvenile offenders (aged 12-18) has been launched in Kabul. Compliments to Italy who funded $490 000US for its construction. I remember seeing a deserted rehabilitation centre in Kabul and wished for its refurbishment.

Further, I’m currently in the process of trying to obtain international assistance in mental health issues for Afghans who have been traumatised psychologically as a result of NATO assistance in Afghanistan. Children need extra special help in this regard as they are Afgs future. So far, i’m doing well. i have been told by European groups that they will dispatch a group of psychologists immediately into the country. if this works- i will feel so proud! Afghans really need this.

Yesterdays bombing: Hekmatyar has claimed responsibility!

Will type more later, i feel sick because i ate roadside chips again!

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A suicide bomb went off exactly 22 minutes ago in Wazir Akbar Khan, Street 14. I’m okay, shukor so is family. Breaking news: At least 2 civilians dead and counting.

Ya Allah, khayr! I’m waiting for information to flood the office.

Afghanistan- an obscure arithmetical equation.

Labor winning the elections in Australia + Republicans aren’t glamorous enough to win the 2008 US elections = Withdrawal of troops from Iraq (an indication of increase in militant insurgency).

Pakistans deteriorating situation due to an obsessed, overly panicked President who’s doing whatever it takes to remain president- but is being faced with a Bhutto-Sharif opposition.

UN reports signify an increased opium trade in Afghanistan; further, anti-government elements have contaminated 54 per cent of Afghanistan who will be present in the long run. It has been anticipated that Kabul will be managed by AGES by mid-2008. NATO has been urged to double it’s troops. No no no the US troops need to disperse into the remote areas where the anti government elements are regrouping, not in the towns as they are currently positioned.

This leaves Afghanistan standing on a bar of soap, will easily slip!

Security chief just declared an unconfirmed explosion in Karte Naw. All movement within Kabul has been restricted, so that means i’m locked down in my office. Joy!

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My cousins’ cousins mum passed away in New York. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon. My heart goes out to their family, especially to Rafi. I sent him a lousy but hearty email offering him my condolences. He’s like a little brother to me (even though he’s older than I).

Good memories while we were in Islamabad, his putt-putty car. I walked into a cd store, all I saw were a bunch of guys STARING, I gave them a dirty look and turned the other way to select cds. Rafi came and said ‘salaam’. He asked why I gave him a dirty look; I laughed and told him I didn’t see him (even though he was standing right in front of me).

I pray to God to grant u strength and patience to carry on during this time of grief. If there’s anything I can do, or if you feel like confiding in anyone… I’m here for u. Take care of yourself and be strong.

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An Afghan Wedding

Had lunch with M yesterday, good fun! We had a laugh session about Afghans here and abroad and at the same time we agreed that if we hear any international say it, we’d verbally bash ’em. We’re afghans, it’s okay for us.

A week or so ago, i went to a wedding. I cant be bothered regurgitating the events so i’ve ‘stolen’ this passage from Mina’s blog (thanks, hun!) Needless to say, what she experienced, i did too!

Basically it was very close to weddings I saw in North America – a band, a sitting area for the bride and groom (he hangs out with the ladies), a dance floor, and lots of food. There were however, a few differences. First was how bright the women’s dresses were – orange, bright green, etc. In most Afghan weddings I’ve been to in Canada, there are only 2 or 3 ladies who make this fashion choice. Here it was the majority. Another thing about the outfits was that they changed them about 3 to 4 times. This was of course only the closely related family; but even included the baby and children. I was in the same outfit the whole night (I always chose Indian outfits because they are as comfortable as pajamas and well accepted by Afghans. Who wants to pull on their strap all night?) . Anyway, this meant that you could spot me at anytime. The family members however, looked different every 15 minutes, so when I was looking for people I knew to say bye; I couldn’t find them because they were wearing new outfits.

The next thing that I just loved – was how the food was delivered. There were plates of every kind of food set on your table, underneath which was a plastic table cloth. The food was very tasty and even fruits and desserts were on the table. When it came time to clean up – I started to hear what sounded like an earthquake. No, it wasn’t a rocket. It was the sound of the waiters RUNNING away from the tables with their trays. They pick up the plastic, which is now holding all of the plates, platters, glasses, etc and pile them on to one tray. Then they hold that tray up with one hand, and run so they don’t drop it. It’s something that was very hard to capture in a picture, but I tried.

Speaking of home, i made a mental list. I’ve become an insomniac since learning about my trip back home. Spending the whole night awake thinking about what presents to get and for whom. Who to visit, what to do. I know my first visit will be to Maccaz (McDonalds) and if any of my relatives wish to invite me, they can bring home take-away… fish and chips or Maccaz or Pizza. NO AFGHAN FOOD, PLEASE. K.A can make a note of this. ahaha.

SM, ur a darl for wanting to have a night and kicking ur poor man out of the house so we have an all-girls night. love ya!

I’m at work, my tummy hurts. I really need to go back to australia and get a thorough medical examination, i probably have a zillion cancers in my body that i don’t know about. hahahaha.

Anyways, back to work…

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Rushed into work. Bumped into our Aussie security dude before anyone else. We, of course discussed the election results. Before even checking my hotmail inbox (which is my number one daily priority), I logged onto MSN and spoke to W about- THE ELECTIONS! I’m stunned at Labors win! I’ve always liked Kevin Rudd, even as shadow minister. He’s an excellent speaker. Always has sharp comebacks! But history has proven, Labor and economics aren’t a good match. Immigration policy wise- it’s good for all the FOBs waiting to gain entry into Austaralya!

As for weekend highlights.

I was in the kitchen about to start cooking when my phone rang, it was a relative, S calling. I answered with a smile, ‘hey S, whats up?’
‘Guess what?’ was all I heard from the other end in her out of breathe voice. I asked if she was okay and why she’s so huffed. ‘I heard a bomb go off and then fire shots, the whole house shook and windows shattered.’ She was in complete shock. Her husband left the house, he thought they had targeted his uncle again who is the Chief security officer for Paghman. She hung up and told me she’ll call me later on with the news. I told her not to worry and that the scary part is DURING the explosion, the aftermath (although tragic) won’t do further physical damage. I assured her everything will be alright.

I hung up and lifelessly carried myself into the lounge room, positioned myself on the floor, next to the couch. I sat in solitary silence and stared into nothingness out the window. Kids gathered there, I thought to myself, how can they be so cruel? Why? Why?

These words came to my head as I grieved silently in tears.

Plastic sandals in a heap. Were they discarded in a hurry, as the frightened feet ran away? Or were the sandals blown off, right after the children?

Dust and screaming in the tree-lined streets? Grown men hitting themselves in frustration, crying for their children?

Our children murdered. Again and again.

This morning on my way to work, I had the following conversation:

Driver: Do you remember when we once went to Paghman and stopped on the way to buy apples?
Me: Yes
Driver: He too was killed.

I shook my head! An apple seller on the side of the road, earning barely enough to support his household. Why? Why? Why the injust disposition on our nation?
6 people killed, mostly children. My heart goes out to the families. May God give them the strength and patience to carry on.

Also went to a takhjamee in the village. Very interesting observation. Forgive me if I don’t sound too descriptive but I’m still saddened by the Paghman attacks. We were supposed to visit grandads grave and then go for a picnic. So I pulled on a pair of jeans, a sweater and my runners.

On the way, our driver insisted we join him and his family at the ‘takhjamee’. My god, I was in jeans and they want us to go to a village takhjamee? Girls who wear pants are considered to be wearing men’s attire. Oh well, my parents agreed and so I didn’t defy.

We entered the mud house to be greeted by a swarm of women. Oh no, I thought, I hate the kissing formality ESPECIALLY when you have no idea who they are. So I just took a deep breath and braced myself. I had my baby sister in my arms, hoping that would create a barrier so they don’t bother kissing me.

But. I was wrong!

I smiled and winced as each woman grabbed me (either by my shoulder or the back of my head) pulled me to her and kissed my cheeks five times alternating between left and right. I’ll dodge the next one, I thought.

But. I was wrong!

Kiss left cheek, kiss right cheek, kiss left cheek, right again, then finally left again. Yay, I’m free, only to be faced by another.

*sigh* yet, I still love our culture and our people.

The entire ‘takhjamee’ process was the norm apart from the dressed up women who looked like the white chicks from the movie ‘White Chicks’. They wore brightly coloured dresses with glittery sequins. White tombaans peeked from under their dresses.

Their hair. Oh boy did I like this part. It was permed- noodle perms! They had a whole heap of curled fringe on their forehead and long poodle looking curls dangling from next to their temples all the way to their shoulders. It reminded me of my sheepskin Qaraqol coat.

My MSN convo with W (don’t ask why i put these, i guess it’s for my own reference).

Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
salaam
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
how are u?
W Says:
Good
W says:
w/s
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
fill me in on the aussie elections
W says:
hah
W says:
John Howard lost
W says:
even his own seat i believe
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
i heard that bit, even the dodgy afg news said that, tell me REAL news.
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
damnnn.. by how much did labour win?
W says:
i think they may have a majority of 24 seats
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
that’s good
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
i’m happy but australias economy is going down with Labour
W says:
yeah i believe that too
W says:
but apparently he is an ecconomic conservative so i guess we will just have to wait and see
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
i hope so! personally, i like kevin rudd! even when he was shadow minister, hes an excellent speaker
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
i’m reading the news right now.. COSTELLO ISN’T GOING TO BE LIBERAL LEADER????? Damn!
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
whose taking his place then? come onnnnnnnn, u slowy! i’m in afg and i have more Aussie elections news than you
W says:
who said he isnt?
W says:
obviously the caucas has to elect him
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
i’m READING THE NEWS!! something you should know!
W says:
i think its just a formality
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
noooo i’m talking about the liberals… why would the caucus elect a liberal leader?
W says:
shalgham jan…. the liberal caucus
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
there is no liberal caucus… only labour is called caucus. go back to school!
W says:
kee mega
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
but it’s good now, states are all labour and so is federal!
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
go and google it! u’ll find for urself!
W says:
no really,… increased chance of corruption i believe
W says:
not really
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
The Federal Parliamentary Australian Labor Party, commonly known as The Caucus
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
i googled it for you!!!
W says:
yeah
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
whats happening with our aussie troops? is Rudd going to bring em home
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
ufffffffff maam keera porsaan mekonom, kadoo! lol
W says:
Rudd ba ma zang zad emroz
W says:
and he said … Wjan when do u want me to pull out the troops from Iraq
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
ahahahhahahhaha
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
qawarah!
W says:
i dont think he will be withdrawing any time soon
W says:
i think his position is that he will withdraw troops responsibly
Me My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
i reckon it was all done for show! he’s not going to get the troops out, coz if he does then he won’t have US backing. as much as labour SAYS they don’t care about Bushy. They DO!
W says:
did u even vote ?
Me- My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
lol no
W says:
churra eqadar gaap khay mezani
W says:
chup
Me- My god, Ruddy boy won! says:
ahahhahahaha

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I’m coming home!

I wanted to surprise you all, but i just cant- so i’ll have to tell you.

I’m coming home end of the year, maybe earlier!

I’ll be going to Sydney as well and Melbourne bakhayr to visit family- and of course, good old Perth.

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