OK, so I had such a great time on my second trip to Afghanistan that is will be hard to describe, but I will try. On this trip we not only spent time in Kabul but also had the opportunity to travel to Mazar-i-Sharif. Mazar-i-Sharif is a short but somewhat treacherous flight on Kam Air (an Afghanistan airline) over the snowy mountains of Afghanistan. Wendy joined me on this adventure and we both got to travel with amazing women including Suni (WAW founder and our fearless leader) and five dedicated supporters of the organization (Patricia, Sharon, Jerri, Leela and Sonya).
While Suni and the WAW supporters visited WAW shelters and programs, Wendy and I joined forces with Bethany and Hafiz to form the “film crew”. Bethany is an awesome person who is a journalist working in Kabul. She is originally from Colorado and made her way to Afghanistan after completing her education in Hong Kong/China. Hafiz is from Afghanistan and works for WAW on a full time basis. He was our translator and fixer during the trip. He is almost a dead ringer for a young John Travolta so it was nearly impossible not to hear Saturday Night Fever whenever he walked into the room. With Bethany’s unbelievable connections, the “film crew” spent the week interviewing the first female taxi driver, a female news anchor, the female cycling team, the first female rap artist, a young male activist who made headlines when he and a few other men wore burquas during an International Women’s Day march in Kabul and Nader Nadary (one of the leading activists in Afghanistan). Another highlight on this trip was a visit to the Presidential Palace for a meeting with Rula Ghani, the first lady of Afghanistan. Just going through security and being on the grounds was incredible. Last but certainly not least; we were given access to interview some of the WAW clients and staff. Being able to hear their stories firsthand is truly an honor and something I will never forget. Although we had a pretty grueling schedule, seeing the work firsthand that WAW does for women and children is awe-inspiring and incredibly moving.
Each time I come back from Afghanistan, I gain so much more respect for the brave women and men who risk their lives to help others.
So to sum up our jam-packed week, I would have to say that we had the most awesome time “mucking about” (one of Bethany’s favorite phrases) with great people and an amazing organization. We left with what I know will be lifelong friendships. Now the pressure is on to take all this footage and turn it into a short video for the upcoming WAW Gala.