Saturday, May 26, 2007


People keep asking me what my plan is once I return home - I swear it feels like I'm finishing undergrad again. And yet, it feels even more lame now than then to say - I don't know. I really, honestly have no idea what comes next. In some ways it is very liberating, and in others absolutely terrifying.

Another thing people keep asking is how I feel about leaving Afghanistan. I am thrilled to be going home, at least for a while, but I suspect I'm going to get itchy feet pretty quickly. Will I miss Kabul? I'm not sure. I'll certainly miss Nathan, and the sense of purpose that I had while here. I will definitely not miss the airplanes and helicopters flying low enough to make the floorboards shake. If I'm honest, I suppose I will miss the 'get out of jail free card' that I feel like I have here - things that I haven't dealt with or have been put on hold can't wait anymore. Betsy has a saying - only missionaries, mercenaries, misfits and the broken hearted work in places like Afghanistan. It's not that I've been running away from anything in particular, but it is nice to be 'away' sometimes...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

work stuff

The last six weeks or so have been ridiculously hectic. The head of the gender department turned in her resignation, I spent two weeks in the provinces and the gender strategy that we've been working on for the last few months is finally starting to take shape.

When W turned in her resignation I was asked to delay my vacation again until the end of July. What could I say? It was obvious we were in a bind, so I agreed. Then, W changed her mind at the last minute and decided to stay. This made things awkward, to say the least. I can't really get into it in a public forum, but management kept changing their minds about what to do with me - so I made the decision for them. I'll be coming home in a few weeks - for good. Or, at least until I find my next job... I'm sad to be leaving the project because I've really put a lot of time, energy and creativity into it, but the work environment was getting uncomfortable to the point that I wasn't enjoying my work anymore. And lets be honest, if you don't like your job here it's not like your social life will make up for it.

Yesterday we ran an all day workshop for our staff, sharing the findings from the gender strategy and working together to find solutions for some of the major gaps. I'm really happy with the way it turned it - it was my first time really designing an all day workshop, and my sessions went extremely well. It's frustrating when W takes credit for my work, but I know what I've done, and I've learned to let other people know as well...

So, I'll be home in June. I have some money saved up and I'm kinda looking forward to taking a break. I'm sure that won't last very long; I'll start getting nervous about my lack of employment and stir-crazy in the family house, but at least the idea is nice for the moment. I am looking for jobs now, but I'm not feeling very motivated. I think I need a break - maybe after some time and perspective I'll have a better idea of where I want to be, whether that's in the US, the Middle East or back in Afghanistan.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Ansari Shrine

Me, at Ismail Khan's mujahadinn guest house

Blue mosque at sunset
Inner courtyard of Blue Mosque

Minaret of the Blue Mosque

Entrance to the mosque