I’m baaaack

Wow.  It has been a while! last post was in October 2011.

Here I am now. Nursing my 3 month old baby while typing up this entry!

Times have changed 🙂

I now have two beautiful boys. Both under two, my hands are FULL. I resigned from my post in Afghanistan when I was 8 months pregnant,  and came to Australia (my home!) to have the baby here. We decided against returning to Afghanistan for it’s not safe with two babies. And I don’t feel like I can be a great mother to my children while living in Afghanistan. I won’t be the way I want my children to see me. We’re glad we made that decision.

Since then, we’ve really taken it easy and enjoyed parenthood. We’ve been traveling… lived in Bangkok for about 6 months before moving to Bangladesh (hubby’s job assignment). I loved Bangladesh!!! The people were amazing. I felt so comfortable, so unlike Afghanistan.  There were no men with staring problems. Yes, it was hot and humid amd crowded and I was heavily pregnant with my 2nd baby. But I loved it. I won’t rant further. But I loved it. Lol.

So that’s the update!

I have decided to take time off work and spend as much time with my boys. Once they start kindy/pre school then I’ll head back to work.  I’ll be 30 years old lol. I’ll still be desirable in the job market, I’d hope. Haha.

My boys are my priority. I’m a stay home mum and man, it is tough!  Working in Kabul was waaaay easier.

I’m in Australia but I can’t seem to let go of Afghanistan.  I follow it closely. 

That’s the thing with Afghanistan.  It grows on you…

More later


So. I’ve been busy. You can understand why I haven’t been blogging for about a few weeks now.

It’s snowing today… wohoo!

Since the bombing at Finest, I haven’t visited! Not going to shop and look for other stuff, not going to take the risk.

We brought on the New Year in Bali. We visited KL and Korea. It was FUN! I could live in KL! And we did our usual stop over in Dubai for 3-4 nights. i actually liked Dubai this time. This is probably the 6th -7th time I went there and I actually enjoyed it! I shopped a lot, they had sales!

So yes, back in Kabul and back at work. Not to mention reading and watching the news – as it happens in Cairo – has taken most of my time.

Next blog will be slightly less dull than this. I promise.

Oh you might want to check out http://www.realsimple.com so convenient!

Until next time…

Granted. I haven’t blogged in a while. so many things have kept me insanely busy. My job being one of them.

Yesterday’s attacks have prompted me to vent. And so, here I am.

Friday.28th Jan. 2011

Friday is our one day weekend. So it’s the day we catch up on some sleep, spend the day cooking our brunch and just chilling out, followed by visiting relos.

We did just that. Seemed like a normal Friday.

Normally hubby and I start cooking brunch together but today I took a little bit longer than usual. I blow dried my hair. Trying to juggle the roller brush in one hand and the hair dryer in one hand it took extremely long.

When I got up, hubby was already chopping stuff up.

We had our brunch, got dressed. As usual, took me an extra while to figure out what to wear.

Then off we went.

As we left the door and waited for the driver, I asked my hubby if he brought the envelope. He forgot. So he went in to get it. So I waited.

I saw our bulky security officer who lives at our house for security purposes, bustle by. He usually has his soldier boots on and his weapons belted around his waist. No guns today. He was on the phone, pale and frantic. He raised his eyebrows to say hello and ran out the door. I knew something was going on.

Hubby came back just as the security dude walked out the main gates. I mentioned briefly to my hubby ‘i think something’s going on. The security dude was frantic and pale’

About 2.33pm

Just as the driver was paging the base to let him know that we were moving, the operations manager came running outside. ‘Back inside’ he yelled, motioning for the driver to drive in through the gates. He asked us to slide down our windows. ‘There was a bomb attack in town near Finest, no movement’ he said frantically, pale as a ghost. He hurried along to wherever the security guy was heading. This is when they call everyone to make sure everyone is accounted for.

We went back inside and of course turned on the TV to see if it had made it on the news. Hubby called his family to see if everyone’s okay. Of course, the Afghan TV had their usual shows. CNN and BBC was covering the Cairo protests. And so, we waited. and waited. And finally Afghan TV provided a brief update. It happened at Wazir Akbar Khan. A store we frequently visited.

There it was.

The first thought that came to my mind were the guys who worked at the store.

Moments later, footage hit the screen. A shop we visited, up in flames, power outage so it was dark and smokey, the neatly stacked shelves were now empty, the items spread all over the floor. A young boy, around 12 years old was crying and frantic. ‘My sister and my cousin came to shop, I don’t know where they are’ he sobbed as his eyes darted from side to side expecting them to walk out of the burnt down store.

It was sad.

The casualty count started at 4 killed and then stopped at 8.

So the whole day we were on lockdown, watching the Cairo protests live and just hanging about.

That evening, we had a security briefing. Two of my hubby’s colleagues were caught in the attack, one was seriously injured. She’s in stable condition and will be evacuated to her home country for treatment.

The guys had more information: the suicide bomber walked into the store, began firing at everyone, threw a hand grenade then detonated himself.

Some are saying the Taliban did it targeting head of Blackwater. But Head of Blackwater is doing fine, we’re not even sure if he was in there at all. Hekmatyar is also claiming responsibility. Nothing to be proud of but somehting they each want to have a hand in. Shame.

Another Afghan colleague of my hubby was there with his 5 relatives. they were all killed. 6 from one family. So how could the number of killed total 8? They’ve definitely downplayed the number of casualties!

I’m counting my blessings and hoping there is no more of this!

A belated Eid Mubarak – I’ll post my Eid post later but for now, I’m ecstatic about the turnout at Farhad Darya’s concert in Helmand.

I was talking to my family on skype last night, my back was toward the TV. H was flicking through the channels and he stopped at one. I could hear Karzai speaking and addressing the public in Pashto. Mum asked me what that was on TV. I told her it was Karzai. H was like ‘noooo, it’s Farhad Darya’. He’s not a fan of Farhad Darya, but I am. And I think deep down, he is too. He was really liking the concert.

Anyhow, mum immediately switched on RTA on the internet and she watched it on her computer.

The turnout was ginormous!!! It was HUGE! I’m talking about at least a million people (all men, of course). But it was a huge success!

For those who don’t know, Helmand is known as ‘Taliban’ zone. It’s right next to Kandahar. It’s Pashtun dominated and it’s extremely conservative.

But Farhad Darya, of Tajik ethnicity, blew out the Pashtun crowd with his performance and genuinity of his love for his people. I was so amazed. I didn’t even know it was possible. It was good to see a different side of Helmand, a happy side of people cheering and clapping and just being happy, not what you see on TV of extremism and unhappiness. Hopefully, the next big event will also have women’s presence, perhaps a women only event will strike a huge turnout.

Anyhow, I’m still so excited about it, so let me just say a few things more. Towards the end, Darya was so into it, he was running around barefoot on stage. The crowd loved him. Occassionally the event coordinator would take on the stage telling eveyrone ‘kshena kshena’ (sit, sit). But that was only for a few minutes. A song later, they were all on their feet again, waving their arms.

The best part of it all was that it was live, no lipsynching was done. Almost all Afghan singers lipsynch. This is one reason why this made the event so genuine. He really had everyone going.

I may be getting way over my head when I say this, but maybe Farhad Darya is the answer to Afghanistans fragmented ethnic division. He unites everyone, he sings for all, he sings in all languages. I grew up listening to his music, I didn’t know what he was singing. I just liked the tune.

Today, I have a deeper appreciation of his music. He’s not just a singer. He’s an ambassador of peace, of unity, of development. He is a darya.

Okay, just a correction: Farhad Darya is not of Tajik ethnicity. His father was a Pashtun of the Nasher tribe among the Pashtuns. His grandfather was a very powerful Pashtun by the name of Sher Khan. (thanks to TemorKhan for noting this)

Also, I forgot to add that the international media did not report this. I am so disappointed. I wanted the world to see a different side of Helmand, a happier side. They’re always so quick to report the negative and not the positive. I guess that’s what makes headlines.

Zayed Minhaj – RIP

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.

A family friend’s son. My former teacher’s son. My sister’s friend’s brother. I didn’t know him. I just remember him as a very small child. And now, he’s dead. My mum told me the news over IM a few minutes ago and it didn’t hit me until now.

Minhaj was on his was to Wardak where a bomb was planted targeting him. His body has blown to bits and they cannot find anything except for his shirt and some tattered ID. He was young, about 20 years old, perhaps even younger.

I sat looking at the computer screen feeling numb but at the same time filled with momentous hatred and anger towards the people who had carried this out. How could they take a life? Who gave them this right?

A part of me wishes that it’s not him. What could he possibly have done? I can only imagine the state his family is in. But so what if it’s not him, it’s still a young boy killed. Someone’s child. Someone’s brother. Someone’s cousin. Someone’s friend. I hope a day comes when we can claim victory over these terrorists.

My heart goes out to his family and friends.

And so it is!

F., N., and N. were Tajik; the other two were Pushtun. I asked them about the historically violent divisions among these tribes. They said, firmly, “That was our fathers. Today, we are all brothers.”

I was only 10 years old. And now, I’m 24, typing away on a keyboard in a well lit room powered by gov’t supplied electricity. As an Australian-Afghan woman. Without a Burka. Without a male accompanying me. Afghanistan has come a long way.

Just thinking, imagining the dead bodies of the then President najibullah and his brother and the dark clouds that dawned Kabul. I can only imagine the fear that spread in Kabul of what was to be.