Friday, March 16, 2007

Women's Gathering

Thursday afternoon, 1 week after International Women's Day, Tilly invited all the women from our office over to our house for a 'party,' but really it was a dialogue about women's issues in Afghanistan. It was really interesting to listen to the women talk about their families, the support or resistance they face from them about working, some of the things they did during the Taleban regime - or didn't do. One of the women talked about how they managed to arrange med school classes for a group of women in Herat, in spite of Taleban restrictions. Another admitted her secret dream to learn Tai Kwon Do.

We held the conversation in a mixture of English and Dari, with different women translating at different times. At first only the bilingual women would speak (although I insisted on constant translation) but by the end all the women were contributing, albeit with some encouragement. One of the women who is a housekeeper at the other staff house said that she works because there aren't any men in her family, but that she loves working and is glad to have the opportunity. Our office cleaner, a fun spunky woman, said that her in-laws talk about her because she refuses to wear the burqa and she works outside of the home, but that she doesn't care. Her husband is an actor, and she said her children also wanted to study acting, but she couldn't let her daughters because of the gossip and problems when they lived in the refugee camps in Pakistan.

Overall, it was a very successful event, and I think we're going to start doing it monthly. It was nice to be able to interact with my co-workers in a more personal way. I've had a very difficult time bridging that gap with most of them, even though I've been here for six months now. I can see I have a lot to learn from them...

1 comment:

Hold my hand as we embark on this journey as one... said...

dwow you're an inspiration. i recently arrived to Kabul with my family (lived my entire life in Australia, parents are Afghan) and i find it very challenging. would love to join your team as a colleague. any vacancies?
drop me a comment line at http://kabulaus.blogspot.com/