Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Home Tour

I've had several people ask me to post pictures of our house.  I think that most people picture Afghanistan and Kabul as being a very desert, dusty place.  As Carlee L. put it, "I've tried to picture it in my mind, but it ends up just looking dusty."  You're right about the dust.  Sneezing seems to be an Afghan national pastime.  But our home is like an oasis from the heat and dust.

This is where we live!

Most houses in Afghanistan have an outer wall and then the house inside.  Even small places will have a mud wall around the edge of the property.  The wall shows ownership.  Our cook, Aga Gul (see photo later), inherited some property outside of Kabul from his father and had to go to the property, build a wall around it and inhabit it for a month to assert his ownership.  When flying over Afghanistan, the landscape is dotted with little, empty looking boxes indicating property lines.  The wall also gives protection and privacy (I don't have to wear my chador inside the walls of our home).

Our house is split into three separate areas: the main house, the apartment, and the chakador area.  We share the apartment with Steve and Sari.  It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchenette, washer and dryer and a nice lounge.  The office is underneath the apartment.  We eat in the main house because it has a bigger kitchen.  The main house is the right building in the picture and the apartment is the door behind me.  And that's our car, a Toyota Surf (aka diesel 4-Runner).  We don't know Toyota did right, but about 98% of cars on the road are either a Surf, Corolla, Land Cruiser, or Old Toyota Van.  That means they must be reliable, because anything that can survive the streets of Kabul has got to be burly.

Our yard has flowers, trees and a great fire pit.  We have a fire about once a week.  It's great now that the weather is beginning to get cooler.  The rooms behind the yard are the chawkador room and a little workout room.

Our hallway and washer and dryer.  I love these machines!  In the last five years, I have had my own washer and dryer for a total of 5 months.  To be honest, when I found out we'd have these in Afghanistan, it made the decision to move a lot easier!  This picture is taken from our door, Steve and Sari's room is right across from the cat, and our bathroom and the kitchen are at the end of the hallway.

Yes, that's a cat.  It belongs to Steve and Sari.  He's still unsure of what he thinks of me and he really doesn't like Joey.  We call him Kitty, he came with the name Pashak Nau (New Cat).

Our little bathroom.  It has warm to hot water most of the time.

Our little kitchen.  Right now we're working to make it a little nicer, it has a bit of a mold problem.

Definitely the favorite room in the apartment.  This is our lounge, complete with toshaks and matching curtains.  We all spend a lot of time in here reading, playing games, watching movies or TV, or napping.  Our TV gets between 0-68 channels, although the most we've ever seen working at once is 10.  TV in Afghanistan consists of mostly Islamic channels, Bollywood movies/Indian music videos or cricket.  We do have a few sports channels and even get an ESPN every once and awhile.  The amount of football (soccer) played makes Joey very happy, although we have yet to see an entire game without the cable cutting out.  We get some Olympics; weight lifting, boxing, basketball, football and women's field hockey seem to be what the Afghans are watching.  Right now I am watching one of three Afghan Olympians compete in Tae Kwon Do.  Go Afghanistan!

Our bed doesn't look made, but I promise it is!  We only have a twin size bed spread, so it always looks a little unmade.

My wardrobe is pretty sparse.  But my chador collection is growing!

This is where we keep all our winter stuff and where Joey keeps his clothes.

We have a lovely view of the River.  At one time, I'm sure our house was a really nice place to live.  Due to the drought, the water level has gotten very low.  Now the river is a place for goats to graze and trash to be dropped.  It doesn't smell very good either.  A lot of houses don't have septic tanks, they have a pipe or hole that drains into the river or onto the walkway next to it.  It's pretty gross.  Hopefully it will rain a lot this fall.

Here's the main kitchen, complete with Aga Gul!  Don't let the stern appearance fool you, this guys is nothing but smiles and fast "English."  Today he told me to have a "very good night, very good day, very good everyday."  I think that meant "Have a good weekend."

And that's our home!

Afghanistan just one its first Olympic Medal ever!  A bronze medal in Tae Kwon Do for Nikpai Rohullah!


Jessica said...

I am still dying to know - what you are doing, why you are in kabul. Maybe I am the last to know....can you share ?

Jessica said...

One more thing....a note about your taekwondo medalist.

Intrepidity said...

ooh, a washer and dryer! I am moving into a place in two weeks with my very own washer and dryer--I feel like such a grownup!

With your grass patches and flowers, it is a little oasis. Love this post as it almost feels like I could be visiting you!

anya* said...

ohhhh thank you so much for the pictures! i had also been trying to picture it and this definitely helped:)

glad to know you have a washer/dryer. having lived w/o one lots of times myself i know the luxury they afford.

miss you.

Dawn said...

love the pictures...i think your place is so cute. thanks for sharing!

Alicia said...

wow, what a great tour, thanks for sharing! I liked the fact about the random walls people put up. That would save a lot of disputes about who is supposed to cut the grass in that no man's territory in American suburbs.

So glad you are feeling more at home, and your cook sounds like a sweet man. I love the red room, in our next home, our living room is going to be red too!

C said...

The washer/dryer combo is key. I will [hopefully] never again live somewhere that doesn't have them. :)

Mary said...

that's nice!! your a lot better than i thought it would be...i'm glad you guys are being taken care of! love yall

Mary said...
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