#25 Life in Afghanistan :: Together

It’s time for Five Minute Friday again. We link up with Lisa-Jo and write for 5 minutes unedited on a prompt.

This month I’m combining FMF with my 31 Days series.


My laptop charger seems to have broken and my back-up one is buried in amongst the boxes of stuff taken out of the kitchen that’s being stripped and re-done. So I’m attempting to do FMF on my phone, sorry it’s not pretty, sorry if it has a ton of mistakes, sorry if it’s super short.




I admired Razma’s* headscarf, said I had been looking for one just like it. Razma is one of the first afghans I ever met, she’s my language teacher, she taught me to communicate and behave in Afghanistan.

“I will show you the shop, and get a good price. We will go together!” I accepted her invite and the next day we went together, and we laughed together, and we enjoyed time together.

I sat in my lesson that day and tears rolled down my cheeks, I had been holding them in all day, but With Razma I felt comfortable and they came spilling out. “It’s been a year today since she died. I miss her very much. My heart still hurts.” I confess. She clasps my hands in hers “She was a very kind girl. And so very happy. I am sad too.” We talked that lesson about the pain of grief, about the hope of heaven, about the bitterness of death. We cried together, we remembered together, we grieved together.

Together is better. Together is stronger. Together is how we are supposed to do life. All of life, the laughing and the crying, the beautiful and the ugly, the easy and the hard – we were made to do it all together.

*Names changed to protect identities

This is part of the 31 Days series.
Click the button to find my other posts.



#18 Life in Afghanistan :: Laundry

It’s Friday, the day where I link-up over at Lisa-Jo’s place with hundreds of other to write for 5 mins flat, unedited, on a prompt. This month I’m merging it with my 31 Day series.



All skin and bone she crouched by the riverside, not more than 10 years of age, her skirt hem getting wet as it dangled in the snow. Sleeves rolled up to mid-forearm, just enough to keep them out of the water without making herself immodest. The end of her headscarf rippled behind her in the wind that was blowing and snowdrop melted on the top of her head soaking it through. She held her hands clasped in front of her, and as I neared she smiled. I crouched next to her as I greeted her.”Are you our new teacher?” she inquired. “Yes! I said enthusiastically, “I’m sad you weren’t in the lesson today, will you come tomorrow?” She tilts her head to the side, “Inshallah”, God willing. She continues “I have to do my house work first,” she nods in the direction of the metal bowl sat in the freezing river in front of her. I frown, “What is it?” “The clothes for washing”. I look at her hands that she has clasped tightly in front of her. They are red raw from the cold. I’ve seen the ritual in this tiny village before. Taking the clothes one by one, plunging them into the water, no matter how cold, scrubbing away at them using stones and soap – if they have any of the precious commodity- once each item is thoroughly scrubbed the place them in a metal bowl and let the river flow over them for a while before the wash each item out individually before wringing each one by hand so it has some hope of drying in the freezing cold temperatures. The snow falls more heavily and I pull my headscarf around my face more tightly. I long for the warmth of my small room in the middle of this village. But I look again as her sore hands and her wind chapped face, “Can I help you? Two people will make it quicker” She looks unsure whether to accept or not, so I leave her little option and plunge my hands into the freezing water, a smile cracks through on her face.

We crouch side by side doing laundry, hands aching and stinging from the cold, and we talk about all kinds of things, learning about one another, trying to show her she is beautiful, and loved, and valuable. That her laundry matters to me, that she matters to me.

I later found out she is the daughter of one of the semi-shunned families in the village.

This is part of the 31 Day series


#11 Life in Afghanistan :: Ordinary

It’s that time of the week again – Friday – which can only mean… Five minute Fridays! The time when hundreds of us write for just five minutes on a prompt. No editing, no back tracking, no over-thinking. Hop over to Lisa-Jo’s place to find out more.

This month I’m combining FMF with my 31 Day series. So let’s see what I can come up with today.


A list of things that may seem strange, funny, crazy to you; but in Afghanistan they are just plain old ordinary.

1. Stepping over blood and guts of butchered animals on your walk to work.

2. Being told to stay home indefinitely and taking it in your stride.

3. Finding pieces of moldy bread all round the office, because it’s sinful to throw it out.

4. Stepping over open sewers to cross roads.

5. Knowing what the weather will be for the next 3 months.

6. Waiting for the government to announce the official day of the annual national holiday… the day before it happens.

7. Sitting in the airport all day waiting for your flight, and never actually being told that it’s been cancelled.

8. Carrying around a communications radio.

9. Knowing the phonetic alphabet and reeling it off without thinking. Alpha, bravo, charlie

10. Hearing about an explosion and nodding calmly because it was a whole 30 mins away from where you are.

11. Never having seen your close friends hair.

12. Living in 50+C without A/C.

13. Living in -20C without central heating.

14. Getting sick because you breathed in dust.

15. Not having internet because it snowed, or it’s cloudy, or it rained too hard.

16. Getting excited about the sound of the fridge because it means the power is back.

17. Drinking tea, all day, every day.

18. Freely asking people if they are literate, and being surprised when they say they are.

19. Big solider men with big guns walking down the street holding hands.

20. Asking permission from your boss to go anywhere, even on your days off.

This is part of the 31 Day series