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2006 Trip to Afghanistan

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Good morning from Kabul...

Hi everyone! We’re in Kabul at our guesthouse. The trip over was wonderfully uneventful. The plane ride from Dubai to Kabul was a relatively large plane packed with Afghan men, mostly wearing white outfits with head coverings. When I got up to go to the bathroom I felt surrounded by a sea of men. They all seem to have nice smiles for me though. I’ve heard that most Afghans love Bush and the United States. They are appreciative we removed the Taliban and I think welcome the aid workers.

I haven’t had much sleep in the past two days but am running on pure adrenaline. The guesthouse is actually really nice. Our rooms look out onto a beautiful green garden. There are beautiful roses too. I am struck with how peaceful it is here. The ride from the airport to the guesthouse was interesting. There is obviously so much reconstruction that needs to take place but there are some modern buildings and the roads were not as bad as I had anticipated. We were approached by no less than four people who wanted money or had something to sell (while we were in the car they would run up along side). Of course I bought a newspaper....

The weather is very warm. We don’t have to wear our headscarves in the guesthouse, which is great because it’s cumbersome and adds to the heat. Imagine wearing a burka!

My travel companions are great. Patti and I seem to be on the same wavelength about being here, about the filming, etc. We actually haven’t let Beth film anything yet because we want to get acclimated before she starts pulling out cameras.

Monte Allen who runs the CARE program in Boston is also with us. This is his first time in this part of the world also. Rick Perera, a CARE spokesman, met us in Dubai and will be with us for a few days as well. Sean, Beth’s camera guy is great. It’s nice to be with other people. To see an expression on someone’s face, the questions that they ask that I may not have thought of all make it that much more fun.

The bottom line is I am so glad that we decided to take this trip. Sometimes I feel like a fraud when I speak about Beyond the 11th and the work we’re doing, because all of my information is secondhand. We’ve talked about how being widows ourselves has made us empathetic toward Afghan widows, but the truth is, of course our lives are nothing alike, and it’s nearly impossible to imagine how Afghan widows live. I’m excited to be able to experience the country and the people firsthand. I have a feeling it will help us determine the ranges of needs they face.