Touchdown in KabulHello, all....
I’m happy to report that I survived all four flights here in good spirits and have landed safely in Afghanistan. It’s quite a long way from Seattle to San Francisco to Frankfurt to Dubai to Kabul, and it really does feel like I am incredibly far away from home! I’m hoping to manage to stay awake for another few hours so that tonight will (hopefully) feel like a full night’s rest. I left Seattle Friday AM, and it’s now Sunday PM. That awful grainy feeling is starting to settle in.
Our group from Global Exchange seems great, and we’ve all made it here fine, except for one gal whose flight was delayed in Paris so she missed ongoing connections. We should see her tomorrow. Three other people's bags never arrived (they were told in the States they could check bags all the way through to Kabul rather than collecting them and re-checking them at the Dubai airport like the rest of us did.) All in all, I feel pretty darn blessed.
Kabul is a crazy place, and my first impression is that the soul of the city is now terribly dispirited... Lots of evidence of complete devastation of the city, bombed buildings, burned out/twisted remains of vehicles, bullet holes on walls, rubble and empty craters. That being said, there is also rebuilding going on (mostly the concrete block stuff like we saw in Poland- with alarming looking stick scaffolding) though there is some brighter, fancier, Muslim-style architectural building too.
The most striking thing is that there are homes/buildings coming straight out of the mountains... actually BUILT INTO the rock, so it’s incredibly fascinating to look up at the hillsides and see them way up the slopes. I have no idea how the people actually get in and out of the "city" as it is quite a distance.
I’m so grateful for the headscarves and Shalwar Kameeses I brought to wear...They are definitely the norm here, though there aren’t so many women out on the streets at all, and a bulk of those that are seen are still wearing the full burquas. (Apparently burquas now come in blue now, and not just black) though it’s still so weird to have women absolutely covered from head to toe and even having the full screen of fabric over their faces so they can’t be seen at all. This is full-throttle Muslim country.
Our guesthouse is quite COLD and I think I will be glad for every layer of long underwear and fleece that I have with me... There is an amazing view from our room (I’m sharing with a gal named Patty from Kansas City) of the cliffside and goats and people going by through the muddy streets. In some ways it feels absolutely pre-historic here. (I did a double-take in the Dubai airport when I saw a bunch of men in long robes and head-wraps tied just like Jesus.)
And so..... I need to sign off before the screen fuzzes out for me entirely. Just wanted to say that I made it here safely and am really looking forward to an amazing and completely different experience. I should have email access every few days if you’d like to send a note. Thanks for your prayers, support, and good wishes...
Lots of love,