I have now been here more than 10 days and life seems to take on different hues and colors. I expected to find more here than expected and have not been disappointed. There are the delightful moments when someone on the street hands you a piece of merchandise to try like a pomegranate or the new almonds from this year’s and tries to get to know you. Every time someone smiles a welcome gesture to you, you realize this isn’t just the armpit of the world. These are people who love their land and their life here. There has been one war or something like it for 20 years and everybody looks forward to some normalcy—that was how they allow the Taliban to take over as they calmed things down and got things under control at first. Then corruption set in and it got bad. What remains here is some typical disputes between tribal leaders. But these tribal leaders or warlords will eventually be part of the ongoing solution here as they are stakeholders..
Our driver took me into the ancient part of
Today and tomorrow, I am interacting with more women than I have been able to since coming here. I plan to do a focus group with local women tomorrow and have been preparing a questionnaire about how they shop and cook with flour at home. The hotel has arranged for the women to come into the conference room to meet with me. That should be so interesting.... Some women came to the office today. They had been commissioned to make curtains for our office and came in to hang them up. They were very happily chatting about and when they saw me were very anxious to interact. One said in broken English, “we are Pashtoon, and working for Relief International, we are happy to meet you!” They were dressed in long dresses or suits, with beautiful large scarves to match that covered their hair and shoulders. They also wore georgeous gold jewelry that I would like to find the source for. They wear makeup and are very beautiful. I have been amazed at how even the older women are very attractive with clear green or goldish brown eyes. We also have another woman who works at our office. She cleans and she cooks lunch for all of us and the guards. She is 23 and has a child that is about 11 years old. Her husband disappeared a few years ago and may have been taken by the Taliban. His whereabouts are unknown. It is common for women to be married at 12 or 14 years old here. We also have a few very nice young men who work for us as guards and drivers. I questioned them about the custom of marrying young and they don’t think anything of it. It is part of the culture here. Although my driver who just had a 3rd daughter a few weeks ago, says he married his wife when she was 20... also not all that unusual.
Tonight, our crew was invited to the home of an international couple who work here. Raphy is a Swiss business consultant who works for a well known consulting firm in
Wish all my days here would be so pleasant. It was fun.... but have to get some sleep now. Be well, Linda.