Afghanistan

Kabul Travel Blog

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Students

Afghanistan has a problem.  There are just too many great photo opportunities!  Shepherds herding their sheep down our street, boys flying kites from every vantage point, young beggars with piercing green eyes, donkeys negotiating through congested traffic, endless colourful bazaars and curious gazes from behind blue chadors.  It has been a busy week in Kabul. 

 

Each day is long and full and it is hard to believe that we have only been here 11 days.  We have had successful meetings and secured several contracts with the United Nations, USAID, and a prominent engineering company.  Everyone wants us to commence our English programs yesterday!  We spent a day buying suitable clothing for official level meetings and also designed our new SEA Afghanistan teacher’s uniform (photo of Ingrid and one of staff, Abbas).

local elders
We have been learning a bit of Dari to communicate with our guards and staff and be able to navigate the bazaars.  

 

It has also been a sobering time with the abduction of 26 foreigners (2 of them murdered so far).  The death of the King of Afghanistan prompted 3 days of national mourning and virtually closed down all business activity. 

 

Everyday life is becoming normal despite the frequent overhead fighter jets and helicopters, the overwhelming dust and the security situation.  It’s hard not to feel cooped up, but the minute you step outside you are the target of intense stares and verbal (but harmless) harassment by boys and beggars.  It is difficult to not be moved when a beggar woman clutching a baby is banging with her fists on your car window while trapped in traffic! 

 

However, there is certainly more good than bad.

nearby bazaar - where I did all my shopping
  We have now managed to get out and about in Kabul a lot more and discovered some fabulous cafes with hidden rose gardens.  We have found a wonderful walking path through the leafy campus of Kabul University.  We have even been brave enough to explore the local streets on foot on our own.  The look on our guard’s face when we arrived back at the house from an early morning walk was priceless.

 

Last night we attended an Afghan family wedding of one of our staff members.  It was a cultural banquet and we were treated as guests of honour.  It was impossible to say how many attended total as men and women are strictly separated by large wooden barriers.  We squeezed in with at least 400 women, plus children, in a small area next to the men’s section.  Veils were quickly discarded to reveal pancake heavy makeup and elaborate glitter and sequins gowns.

local kids
  We were completely under-dressed!  The music blared and we joined in the traditional dances much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd! 

 

We have managed to travel a bit and visited an NGO community project outside of Kabul which provides Literacy, Primary Health Care and IT training to 40 villages. 

Today we went to America and visited Camp Eggers US Military Command Base (and didn’t mind being stared at there at all!).  

 

I miss fresh milk and soft bread, clean air and clean fingernails.

 

The adventure continues…

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Students
Students
local elders
local elders
nearby bazaar - where I did all my…
nearby bazaar - where I did all m…
local kids
local kids
the corner of our street
the corner of our street
with one of our students
with one of our students
with kids of Chicken Street
with kids of Chicken Street
building next door
building next door
shepherdess
shepherdess
negotiating the lease on our build…
negotiating the lease on our buil…
work
work
putting up our school sign
putting up our school sign
traditionally dress child
traditionally dress child
dancing the night away at a local …
dancing the night away at a local…
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Kabul
photo by: hyo