Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Still Trying to Understand Afghanistan

Almost a year later, I'm still struggling with the trip to Kabul last March with Global Exchange. I think it's because the culture is unlike anything I've ever experienced or comprehend. A member of the editorial board for a Tallahassee-area paper called the "Apalachee Tortoise" had contacted me last month. She found me via my primary blog and asked if I would contribute something about the trip.

Writing the article (you can view the text here )was therapeutic. It helped me grasp a small understanding of the trip and the experience.

Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Beauty School of Kabul - Empowering Women One Haircut at a Time

It's been almost a year since my Afghanistan trip and I'm still grasping at comprehending the experience. I was asked to write an opinion piece for a local paper, which helped me comprehend the trip a little bit. That article will be published later this month.

In the meantime, I was motivated to write about Deborah Rodriguez and the Beauty School of Kabul. The school and salon are empowering Afghanistan's women one haircut at a time. View the complete story here.Publish

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Supporting Afghan Women: Amber Chand Collection

I received an email from "The New Yorker" today promoting the Amber Chand Collection. The featured item was the Jerusalem Candle of Hope but I was drawn to the Kabul Necklace of Courage, a beautiful green-blue fluorite. The stones are carved and crafted by women in Kabul shops. Women to Women International is involved, one of the organizations my group met with in Kabul last March.

The necklace is beautiful and would make a great holiday gift for that special someone.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Remembering Afghanistan

The words, "Afghanistan will haunt you," and "we don't want to be forgotten," continue to linger in mind. I'm still connected somewhat to some of the trip participants. At least one woman, Sharon, will be returning over Christmas, taking along her son who recently returned home from a tour in Afghanistan followed by Iraq. She's speaking at a conference and I'm sure she WON'T be staying in a guest house. My bet is on the Kabul Serena Hotell - the only luxury hotel in town. Anyway...

Lately, I've been dreaming about returning. It's not that I want to go back, my uncle recently returned from a 10-day visit (for work, he has some important, secret job) and he couldn't understand why anyone would want to visit there. In some way, I agree with him. But I've been waking to weird dreams, dreams compelling me to travel there again. I just need to get it out of my system.

And writing helps that. I started writing for a travel blog - for MONEY! It's not much, but every little bit helps. This is the site: www.TravGuides.com; right now my story is on the front page, but will probably be moved to the Afghanistan section.

At the same time this was posted, I received a beautiful black and white photo from Saverio, the only man (an Italian one, at that) on the trip. I opened it and cried. It was of little girls from the Afghans4Tomorrow School in Wardak. I was touched he took the effort to send the photo and it brought back memories of the experience. Be sure to visit Saverio's website to see his view of the trip.

Think This Will Be My Profile for a While...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Afghanistan: Two Steps Back?

I was sent an email stating that Barbara Walters visited Afghanistan pre-2001 and post 2001 (after the Taliban were ousted). She noticed that women continued to walk behind the men, but at a greater distance than pre-2001. She asked a woman why and the dead-pan response was, "land mines."

I haven't researched to see if this actually happened, but I thought about it when I read today that the Afghanistan government is considering bringing back the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Under the Taliban regime, this body was responsible for brutal attacks, torture and killing of women who appeared "unvirtuous" by Islamic law. This included the public killings in the Olympic stadium.

Karzai's cabinet has passed the motion and it's on its way to Parliament. Apparently, the Department is to educate people as to what is "allowable and forbidden by Islamic law."

I saw the good that our military and government have done over there, but don't think it's enough. Reading this reminds me of the ghosts I hear each day from the people I met with, "we don't want to be forgotten."

Will the Afghan people be forgotten? Have they taken a step backwards?

Lightheartedly, I'm reminded how we women felt our guest house friends and guides worked at "protecting our virtue." No T&A! (toes and ankles). I imagine they took a big risk: men taking care of a house full of women. I wonder if they suffered any repercussion?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

First Published Story About My Afghanistan Trip

Well, it's taken me about four months to actually write something cohesive about my March trip to Kabul. I'm working on other stories for other publications. This story gives a very brief story focuses primarily on two people I met. Enjoy the story here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tips for Staying Healthy While Visiting Afghanistan

I learned a few tips on staying healthy while visiting Kabul and wrote an article about them. Hope these help if you are planning a trip.