For the people I love
who are far away
This week's blog is not about Afghanistan, it's about the people who have been in my life. People that have been part of this wonderful journey and helped me in ways that they'll never realise.
Dee for understanding me and for your ability to lift me up when I feel rock bottom
SQ for all the times you listened to me complain and for turning into a rock star
B&A for treating me like your own daughter and making me feel at home even when I was thousands of miles away
F-diddy for believing that I can be something much more I than I thought I could be
SK for her constant, unconditional friendship
Ebony for being the truest person I know and inspiring me to be the same
Stroker for getting me through tough university times and all the times since then
JR for your solid, reliable presence in my life despite the distance and time apart
Dad for your genuine interest in my career, life and experiences
ND for being awesome and going out of your way to make me happy
FM for supporting me when I first moved to Jordan and growing into the most beautiful person
JM for the unforgettable adventure we shared that I’ll never forget
M&V for making me realise that I can achieve anything and that life can be as beautiful as you have made yours
YT for our lovely coffee breaks that provided me the daily reality check that I needed
AH for your faraway friendship and your free spirit that reminds me of beautiful, spontaneous times
AWJ for your energy and spirit that blows me away
Matty OC for making me proud
SZ for being the calmest and most patient person I know
TM for sharing the first night of your honeymoon with me
Sim Sim for the fun Amman nights we shared and heart to heart conversations that lifted me
SP for our bi-annual fleeting meetings that fill me with love and pride
Van for impressing me with your entrepreneurship and independence
AF for being the most fun travel buddy ever and for all the holidays yet to come
YP for welcoming me into your life with open arms and for the friendship that we share
Hakimito for not conforming to the norm and following your dreams
L O V E
The Afghan Dream
empty Buddha niches of Bamyan
Looking over the Bamyan Valley in the early fresh morning, watching the mist sail past the empty Buddha niches, almost exploring them before moving on, sends a feeling of absolute completeness over me. To feel complete is something that we all strive for. In love, work, experiences and dreams. So I savour this moment, as who knows when it may disappear.
Bamyan valley - view from my room
Bamyan is a magical place, one which I will never forget. There I felt far away from congested Kabul, far away from the breaking news stories of how the ‘war on terror’ is or, in most cases, isn’t progressing. The Afghanistan in Bamyan is another world. It is peaceful, clean and rich in the history that binds the people together.
women of Bamyan.
dinner and sharing stories at the end of the day
Two and a half hours west of the Buddhas lies Band-e-Amir ‘The Commandar’s Dam’. Before coming to Afghanistan I had heard so many stories about this place from friends who tried to describe to me the beauty of these six lakes. I must confess, they failed! Because as we approached the site, the first glimpse of deep lapis lazuli coloured water glittering in the sun literally took my breath away.
Band-e-Amir on a Friday is full of Afghan families picnicing under the waterfalls that surround the lakes. Some take advantage of its so-called magical powers and bathe in the icy water, in the hope that they will be cured of their diseases. Women walk along enjoying the cool sensation offered to them by dipping their feet playfully along the shoreline. Boys make fools of themselves trying to impress each other with tricks in the water.
debating about whether to dive in to the icy water. I opted for 'NO'
aerial shot of the lakes
After a feast of tender meat and potatoes, cooked in a portable pressure cooker, eastern by the side of a spectacular waterfall, me and my Afghan friends set on our way to walk around the lakes. To my delight, after Band-e-Haibat (the largest of the six lakes) we came across some smaller lakes, which were almost private pools made secret by surrounding foliage. Here the water was warmer and much more inviting. The temptation to strip off and plunge into the pool was overwhelming, but in front of my Afghan colleagues I thought I should retain a hint of decency.
So, I promised myself I would come back to this spot and fulfil that desire.